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Pure Appl. Chem., 2010, Vol. 82, No. 6, pp. 1273-1282

Published online 2010-04-14

Dust particles in low-pressure plasmas: Formation and induced phenomena

Maxime Mikikian*, Marjorie Cavarroc, Lénaïc Couëdel, Yves Tessier and Laïfa Boufendi

GREMI, UMR6606 CNRS/Université d’Orléans, 14 rue d’Issoudun, BP6744, 45067 Orléans Cedex 2, France

Abstract: Formation of dust particles is a common mechanism in low-pressure plasmas. These big particles (in comparison with other plasma species) are sometimes the desired final products of the process, but they may also constitute a severe drawback in certain contexts. In either situation, it is necessary to understand growth mechanisms well, in order to control or avoid dust particle formation. One of the problems that has to be overcome is that dust particle growth is usually a continuous mechanism: once started, it can enter into a cyclic regime where new generations of dust particles are succeeding one after the other. This cyclic phenomenon often induces a side effect consisting of instabilities of a few tens of Hz. This paper discusses the main characteristics of dust successive generations, and particularly the importance of dust-free spaces (void) involved in this process. Finally, some aspects related to deposition when several generations coexist will be presented.