Optical emission spectroscopy study of the expansion dynamics of a laser generated plasma during the deposition of thin films by laser ablation
The dynamics of the expanding plasma produced by excimer laser ablation of different materials such as silicon, silicon carbide, graphite and tin powder were studied by means of time integrated, spatially resolved emission spectroscopy and fast photography imaging of the expanding plasma. Experiments were performed both in vacuum and in different pure background atmosphere (i.e. oxygen or nitrogen) and, finally, in gaseous mixtures (i.e. in O2/Ar and N2/Ar mixtures). These investigations were performed to gather information on the nature of the chemical species present in the plasma and on the occurrence of chemical reactions during the interaction between the plasma and the background gas. Then, we tried to correlate the plasma expansion dynamics to the structural and physical properties of the deposited materials. Experimental results clearly indicate that there is a strong correlation between the plasma expansion dynamics and the structural properties of the deposited thin films. In this respect, the investigations performed by means of fast photography and of optical emission spectroscopy revealed themselves as powerful tools for an efficient control of the deposition process itself.