We describe a vacuum arc based system for the generation of repetitively pulsed metal ion beams with very high current density, and the results of experimental investigations of the performance of this new system, as well as the results of numerical simulations. Our approach uses a DC vacuum arc as a metal plasma source, and the beam-forming technique is a hybrid method using features of conventional gridded ion extraction together with some plasma immersion attributes. A hemispherical grid is located some distance from the plasma source so as to intercept part of the metal plasma flow and repetitively pulse-biased to the requisite ion beam energy. Ions are accelerated in the high voltage sheath that forms in front of the biased grid and focused into a converging beam that can be of a very high current density. Space charge neutralization is provided by cold plasma that streams through the grid during the bias-off part of the cycle. At the same time, macroparticles in the vacuum arc plasma are blocked from viewing the target by a metal disk positioned centrally on the hemispherical grid. In the work outlined here, we formed 5 keV aluminum ion beams with a current density up to 470 mA/cm2 at a negative bias amplitude of 3 kV and a pulse repetition rate of 105 pulse per second. The experiments and numerical simulations demonstrate the formation of high-intensity macroparticle-free aluminum ion beams for material surface modification and other possible applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)