Plasma-surface interactions in atmospheric pressure plasmas: In situ measurements of electron heating in materials

S. G. Walton, B. M. Foley, J. Tomko, D. R. Boris, E. D. Gillman, S. C. Hernández, A. Giri, Tz B. Petrova, P. E. Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The energy flux to a surface during plasma exposure and the associated surface heating are of long standing interest as they contribute to the physico-chemical changes that occur during plasma-based materials synthesis and processing. Indeed, the energy delivered to the surface, via a flux of particles and photons, in concert with a flux of reactive species serves to chemically modify, etch, and/or deposit materials, with an efficacy that depends on the plasma processing environment. A unique feature of plasma synthesis and processing is that most of the delivered energy is absorbed at or very near the surface over short (picosecond) time scales. The dissipation of thermal energy proceeds through electron-electron and/or electron-phonon interactions as they propagate through the material, with relaxation time scales that can be orders of magnitude slower. Typically then, the surface is not in thermal equilibrium with the bulk material. Fast, surface-sensitive techniques are thus required to fully appreciate the dynamics of the plasma-surface interaction. In this work, we employ pump-probe Time-Domain Thermoreflectance, a surface sensitive technique typically used to measure thermal properties of thin films, to determine electron heating of thin metal films during exposure to an atmospheric pressure plasma jet. The results, in conjunction with current measurements, are used to develop a first order understanding of plasma jet-surface interactions. The results show that the energy delivered by the plasma jet causes a localized increase in electron energy within the thin film over an area commensurate with the plasma jet radius.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043301
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 28 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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