The production of amorphous silicon, e.g. for solar cells, requires large area, high-deposition rate plasma reactors. Increasing the radio frequency from the conventional 13.56MHz up to VHF has demonstrated higher deposition and etch rates and lower particle generation, a reduced ion bombardement and lower breakdown, process and bias voltages.
But otherwise the use of VHF leads to some problems. The non-uniformity of deposition rate increase due to the generation of standing waves (TEM wave) and evanescent waveguide modes (TE waves) at the electrode surface.
Increasing the frequency and/or the deposition area the plasma impedance, the capacitic stray impedance of the RF electrode and other parasitic capacitive impedances decrease. Increasing the frequency and/or the RF power, the phase angle of the discharge and of the impedance at every point at the lines between the RF matching network an the RF electrode tends more and more towards -90°. This results in increasing currents and standing waves with extremly high local current maximas. Increasing resistances of lines and contacts due to the skin effect and loss-caused heating up of the lines the power losses increase extremely, up to 90% and more. In spite of the increasing of the coupled power, the plasma power does not increase. Thermal destructions of the lines due to extreme expansion or melting are possible.
Some solutions to reduce the non-uniformity of the deposition rate like multipower feeding, central backside power feeding, electrode segmentation, use of load impedances, published in former publications, will be discussed in connection with several reactor types (coaxial, large area, long plasma source) in view of the efficiency of power coupling and the practical realization. Solutions to minimize the power losses at the lines will be presented.