Date of this Version
JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS 119, 114306 (2016)\
Since the mean, standard deviation, and modality of nanoparticle size distributions can vary greatly between similar input conditions (e.g., power and gas flow rate), plasma diagnostics were carried out in situ using a double-sided, planar Langmuir probe to determine the effect the plasma has on the heating of clusters and their final size distributions. The formation of Cu nanoparticles was analyzed using cluster-plasma physics, which relates the processes of condensation and evaporation to internal plasma properties (e.g., electron temperature and density). Monitoring these plasma properties while depositing Cu nanoparticles with different size distributions revealed a negative correlation between average particle size and electron temperature. Furthermore, the modality of the size distributions also correlated with the modality of the electron energy distributions. It was found that the maximum cluster temperature reached during plasma heating and the material’s evaporation point regulates the growth process inside the plasma. In the case of Cu, size distributions with average sizes of 8.2, 17.3, and 24.9 nm in diameter were monitored with the Langmuir probe, and from the measurements made, the cluster temperatures for each deposition were calculated to be 1028, 1009, and 863 K. These values are then compared with the onset evaporation temperature of particles of this size, which was estimated to be 1059, 1068, and 1071 K. Thus, when the cluster temperature is too close to the evaporation temperature, less particle growth occurs, resulting in the formation of smaller particles.