In situ characterisation of thin-film formation in molecular low-temperature plasmas
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Thin films can be formed in low-temperature plasma in two ways: as a result of material modification usually in a discharge of non-organic gas and in the course of a deposition process in a discharge of organic vapour. Thin-film formation requires in situ control of plasma processing in order to get information on the growth mechanisms and control the deposition process. Here are shown some effective in situ techniques of thin-film characterisation: various kinds of infrared spectroscopy (infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy, attenuated total reflection spectroscopy, etc.), ellipsometry and microgravimetry. We discuss the application of these methods to polymer modification as well as plasma polymerisation. The applied techniques give very good spatial resolution, up to a few nm. The limitations of method or equipment on time resolution can be compensated by the appropriate experimental arrangement.
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