Formation of sub-micron size carbon structures by plasma jets emitted from a pulsed capillary discharge

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We have performed an experimental investigation of the potential use of intense plasma jets produced in a repetitive pulsed capillary discharge (PCD) operating in methane gas, to irradiate Si (1 0 0) substrates. The surface modifications induced by the plasma jet using two different material inserts at the capillary end, graphite and titanium, are characterized using standard surface science diagnostic tools, such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis and Raman spectroscopy (RS). It has been found that the application of methane plasma jet results in the formation of sub-micron size carbon structures. It is observed that the resulting plasma irradiated surface morphologies are different, depending on the different material inserts used at the capillary end, at otherwise identical operational conditions. To investigate the species responsible for the observed surface changes in different material inserts to the capillary, optical-emission spectroscopy (OES) was recorded using a 300–1000 nm spectrometer. The OES results show the presence of H, CH and C2 Swan band in the discharge plasma, which play a significant role in the formation of the carbon structures.