Charge flux distribution on the surface of biased electrodes of different geometries immersed in a plasma is investigated by three-dimensional simulations and experiments. It is demonstrated that the sheath surrounding the electrodes that interface insulators acts as an electrostatic lens, focusing the charges to distinct locations on the electrode surface depending on the entrance coordinates at the sheath edge. Two focusing effects are identified. Discrete focusing leads to the formation of a passive surface of no ion impact, near the edge of the electrodes interfacing insulators. Modal focusing results in the formation of certain ‘modal spots’ and/or ‘modal lines’. Several phenomenological aspects and potential applications are reviewed and further discussed, including charge focusing by a three-dimensional plasma–sheath–lens, ion dose uniformity during plasma immersion ion implantation, mass spectrometry and plasma monitoring.
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 2012, Vol 54, Issue 12