Characterization of Reversed Arc Hydrocarbon Plasma in Material Processing


A comprehensive study of the reversed arc plasma enhanced CVD (RACVD) reactor utilizing an Ar + H2 + CH4 plasma-creating mixture in the pressure range 1–100 Torr with a plasma flow direction opposite to the direction of the arc current was carried out. The reversed arc discharge has rising current–voltage characteristics showing voltage increasing with pressure and hydrogen concentration. The spectrum of the Ar-H2-CH4 plasma column includes CH, C2, and H2 molecular bands, in addition to Hα, Hβ, Hγ, and Hδ lines. The dissociation degree of H2 was estimated from the intensity ratio I/IArI of the Hα and ArI 750 nm lines using the optical actinometry method, yielding an average dissociation degree of hydrogen in the arc plasma of 15–20%. The average vibrational and rotational temperatures of CH radicals are Tv = Tr = 3000 K ± 300 K. The dissociation degree of hydrogen in the reversed arc discharge was calculated by the advection–diffusion-reaction model and showed reasonably good agreement both with experimental findings and with LTE calculations. The high concentration of nascent hydrogen and hydrocarbon radicals in the reversed arc plasma and its uniform distribution across the arc column makes it suitable for diamond coatings. The results obtained on the interaction of reversed arc plasma with substrates suspended within the current-carrier arc plasma column were applied to the description of a dusty reversed arc plasma in fluidized bed reactors. It was found that the energy effectiveness of the treatment of nanoparticles in the RACVD fluidized bed reactor exceeds 90%.

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The authors are very grateful to J. Williams, T. Munsat and J. Trelles for useful comments and suggestions, to V. M. Donnelly and Yi-Kang Pu for discussions on OES plasma diagnostics, to D. Smith and A. Obrusnik for consultations on transport properties settings of the COMSOL model of the arc discharge, and to Z. Zembower and O. Popov, for their support with the experimental work.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Avtaeva, S., Gorokhovsky, V. Characterization of Reversed Arc Hydrocarbon Plasma in Material Processing. Plasma Chem Plasma Process (2021).

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  • Arc discharge
  • Hydrocarbon plasma
  • Optical emission spectroscopy
  • Advection–diffusion-reaction model
  • Diamond