The operating regimes of two rf-plasma sources, an Oxford CARS-25 and an EPI Unibulb, have been extensively characterized. By changing the exit aperture configuration and using an electrostatic deflector, the Oxford source could produce either primarily atomic nitrogen, atomic nitrogen mixed with low energy ions, or a large flux of higher energy ions (>65eV) as the active species in a background of neutral molecular nitrogen. The EPI source produced a significant flux of metastable molecular nitrogen as the active species with a smaller atomic nitrogen component. Nitridation of sapphire using each source under the various operating conditions indicate that the reactivity was different for each type of active nitrogen. Boron contamination originating from the pyrolytic boron nitride plasma cell liner was observed.
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Ptak, A.J., Ziemer, K.S., Millecchia, M.R. et al. Influence of Active Nitrogen Species on the Nitridation Rate of Sapphire. MRS Online Proceedings Library 537, 310 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-537-G3.10