OSA's Digital Library

Journal of Display Technology

Journal of Display Technology


  • Vol. 8, Iss. 8 — Aug. 1, 2012
  • pp: 450–456

Cold Cathode Sputtering in Glow Discharges

Ian L. Alberts, David S. Barratt, and Asim K. Ray

Journal of Display Technology, Vol. 8, Issue 8, pp. 450-456 (2012)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (570 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools

  • Export Citation/Save Click for help


A constant challenge for industrialists in cold cathode technologies is the selection of a cathode material which exhibits suitable properties in order to improve performance. One particularly important aspect of performance is the sputter erosion of the cathode, which can lead to lamp failures. Traditionally, refractory metals have been favored for their high densities and energies of sublimation, which result in low sputter yields according to the theory due to Sigmund, and in experiment. However, this paper presents a simple theory which shows that the primary sputter yield is only one step in the liberation of sputtered material from the electrode. The energy of sublimation in fact plays an important role in the energy distribution of the sputtered material. Also, collisions in the bulk gas and the voltage characteristics of the cathode dark space should be taken into consideration for calculating the flux of liberated material. The paper presents a heuristic model of cold cathode sputtering in glow discharges with a view to elucidating the underlying physics in the process. The theory results in a reappraisal of electrode material properties that differs from the traditional view.

© 2012 IEEE

Ian L. Alberts, David S. Barratt, and Asim K. Ray, "Cold Cathode Sputtering in Glow Discharges," J. Display Technol. 8, 450-456 (2012)

Sort:  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. Y. P. Raizer, Gas Discharge Physics (Springer Verlag, 1997).
  2. H. D. Hagstrum, "Auger ejection of electrons from tungsten by noble gas ions," Phys. Rev. 96, 325-335 (1954).
  3. Handbuch der Physik: Vol XXI; Elektronenemission und Gasentladungen I (Springer Verlag, 1956) pp. 55.
  4. E. U. Condon, H. Odishaw, Handbook of Physics (McGraw Hill, 1958).
  5. B. Chapman, Glow Discharge Processes (JS Wiley & Sons, 1980).
  6. M. Haverlag, "High-frequency cold ignition of fluorescent lamps," J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 35, 1695-1701 (2002).
  7. S. Hadrath, "Determination of absolute population densities of eroded tungsten in hollow cathode lamps and fluorescent lamps by laser-induced fluorescence," J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 38, 3285-3295 (2005).
  8. P. Sigmund, "Theory of sputtering. I. Sputtering yield of amorphous and polycrystalline targets," Phys. Rev. 184, 383-416 (1969).
  9. J. W. Luginsland, "Beyond the Child–Langmuir law: A review of recent results on multidimensional space-charge-limited flow," Phys. Plasmas 9, 2371-2376 (2002).
  10. J. R. Acton, J. D. Swift, Cold Cathode Discharge Tubes (Heywood, 1963).
  11. L. B. Loeb, Basic Processes of Gaseous Electronics (Univ. California Press, 1955).
  12. R. Kitamoto, "Influence of the cathode material on the characteristics of the cold cathode fluorescent lamp," 38th Nat. Annu. Conv. Illumination Eng. Inst. Jpn. (2005).
  13. E. A. Moelwyn-Hughes, Physical Chemistry (Pergamon Press, 1957).
  14. Handbuch der Physik (Springer Verlag, 1956) pp. 81.
  15. W. D. Davis, T. A. Vanderslice, "Ion energies at the cathode of a glow discharge," Phys. Rev. 131, 219-228 (1963).
  16. J. A. Valles-Abarca, A. Gras-Marti, "Evolution towards thermalization, and diffusion, of sputtered particle fluxes: Spatial profiles," J. Appl. Phys. 55, 1370-1378 (1984).
  17. G. W. C. Kaye, "Note on cathodic sputtering," Proc. Roy. Soc. (1912) pp. 198-202.
  18. G. M. Turner, "Monte-Carlo calculation of the thermalization of atoms sputtered from the cathode of a sputtering discharge," J. Appl. Phys. 65, 3671-3679 (1989).
  19. A. Bogaerts, M. van Straaten, R. Gijbels, "Description of the thermalization process of the sputtered atoms in a glow-discharge using a 3-dimensional Monte-Carlo method," J. Appl. Phys. 77, 1868-1874 (1995).
  20. R. Mason, M. Pichilingi, "Sputtering in a glow-discharge ion source-pressure dependence—Theory and experiment," J. Phys. D. Appl. Phys. 27, 2363-2371 (1994).
  21. N. D. Lang, J. K. Nørskof, "The theory of ionization probability in sputtering," Phys. Scripta T6, 15-18 (1983).
  22. J. Ogborn, "Randomness at the root of things 1: Random walks," Phys. Ed. 38, 391-397 (2003).
  23. B. V. Vuchic, "Sputter-induced grain-boundary junctions in ${\hbox{YBa}}_{2}{\hbox{Cu}}_{3}{\hbox{O}}_{7-x}$ thin-films on MgO," J. Appl. Phys. 77, 2591-2594 (1995).
  24. M. A. Makeev, A.-L. Barabási, "Ion-induced effective surface diffusion in ion sputtering," Appl. Phys. Lett. 71, 2800-2802 (1997).
  25. R. P. Doerner, S. I. Krasheninnikov, K. Schmid, "Particle-induced erosion of materials at elevated temperature," J. Appl. Phys. 95, 4471- (2004).
  26. A. Günterschulze, "Kathode scattering. I. electrochemical scattering," Z. Phys. A 36, 563-580 (1926).
  27. H. M. Urbassek, "Effect of surface binding energy on molecule sputtering," J. Phys: Condens. Matter 4, 4871-4882 (1992).

Cited By

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited