The competition between neutral, positive and negative metal clusters produced via hollow-cathode discharge, was found to depend on the speed of the pump used to evacuate the cluster source as well as on the distance separating the cathode from a grounded grid introduced into the source to intercept the plasma beam. On this evidence it is concluded that the competition between positive and negative cluster ionization depends on the time interval during which clusters and plasma coexist. For coexistence time intervals less than about 1 ms, the relative abundances remain constant and the ratio of negative to positive cluster intensities ranges between 1.6 ± 0.3 for Cu and 2.6 ± 0.3 for Fe. For longer times, the abundance of negative clusters increases and that of positive decreases to the point of complete extinction. In terms of the cluster ionization mechanisms involved, it is suggested that initially several ionizing mechanisms producing negative as well as positive clusters proceed with comparable rates. At later time intervals, however, electron attachment becomes the dominant, if not the exclusive, particle ionization process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films