Milosavljević, V., Ellingboe, A.R. & Daniels, S. Eur. Phys. J. D (2011) 64: 437. doi:10.1140/epjd/e2011-20213-2
The plasma chemistry of fluorocarbon-oxygen-argon discharges and its influence on prominent oxygen triplets are studied. The oxygen 777 triplet is very important for the measurement of atomic oxygen in low pressure plasmas, since the 777.417 nm spectral line is frequently used for actinometry. In this paper, we identify changes in the individual 777 triplet lines arising from cascade effects from higher energy levels of oxygen, and from resonant energy transfer from energetic carbon atoms in carbon-rich plasmas. The lower energy levels of three oxygen triplets (544 nm, 616 nm, 645 nm) are the upper states of the 777 triplet. Increased emission intensity from the 544, 616, and 645 triplets result in changes to the relative intensity of the individual lines of the 777 triplet, and this can lead to errors in using the 777 triplet, e.g. for actinometry. Also, in operational conditions with strong carbon emission (around 601 nm), the relative intensity of the individual oxygen 777 lines is affected. The upper energy levels of these carbon lines is close to the oxygen 777 upper energy levels, suggesting that resonant energy transfer between the carbon and the oxygen is occurring. The experiments are performed in a commercial semiconductor dielectric etcher operating with dual rf frequencies of 2 MHz and 27 MHz. Pressure (13–19 Pa), rf power (200–1200 W), and gas mixtures (argon with addmixtures of 5–13% oxygen and C4F8) are typical in application to dielectric etching.