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Special Issue "Microplasma Devices"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Massood Tabib-Azar

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Nano-electro-mechanical systems (NEMS); nano devices and molecular electronics; metrology tools microwave-AFM for bio-nano-info; novel fabrication techniques

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The main purpose of this Issue is to discuss through its invited and contributed articles, miniaturized plasma devices with applications in sensing, actuation, harsh environment signal processing, terahertz signal processing, material processing (deposition, etching and modification), and in medicine.

Plasmas offers many interesting properties that include very low resistance, an ability to carry very large current densities, offer partially charged beams for electro-magnetic field sensing and actuation, has unique ionized material-dependent photoemission for chemical analysis, the ability to decompose materials and biological tissues, bacteria and viruses, and to deposit and process materials. Plasmas come in many different forms: high density plasmas, low density plasmas, “dirty” plasmas, low pressure and high pressure plasmas, magnetized plasmas, to name a few.

Although in most cases plasma devices are quite large with today’s microelectronic devices standards, they do not have to be. There are some advantages in miniaturizing plasma devices that include lowering the operation voltages, integration with other devices or circuits, realizing addressable arrays, or simple arrays for energy management, parallel detection of different substances through their photoemission in a plasma array, plasma array devices to modify gas boundary conditions for propulsion, sensing and treatment, to name a few. Miniaturized plasma switches are extensively used in flashes and in many high power switching applications. Plasma displays are very popular for their very sharp images and visibility under direct sunlight.

In traveling and slow wave structures, charged plasmas can be used instead of electron beams to increase the device breakdown voltage and to take advantage of self-focusing nature of the plasmas to modify the need for magnetic field focusing that makes them bulky and heavy.

In medicine, plasmas are used for elimination of drug resistant bacteria, skin and tissue treatment, etc. Some have shown that plasma treatment results in faster healing of wounds.

We are inviting all the researchers in the wide area of micro-plasma devices to contribute to this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Massood Tabib-Azar
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

•    micro-plasma devices
•    microfabricated plasma devices
•    plasma switches
•    plasma sensors
•    plasma actuators

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Separated Type Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Microjets Array for Maskless Microscale Etching
Micromachines 2017, 8(6), 173; doi:10.3390/mi8060173
Received: 26 March 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
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Abstract
Maskless etching approaches such as microdischarges and atmospheric pressure plasma jets (APPJs) have been studied recently. Nonetheless, a simple, long lifetime, and efficient maskless etching method is still a challenge. In this work, a separated type maskless etching system based on atmospheric pressure
[...] Read more.
Maskless etching approaches such as microdischarges and atmospheric pressure plasma jets (APPJs) have been studied recently. Nonetheless, a simple, long lifetime, and efficient maskless etching method is still a challenge. In this work, a separated type maskless etching system based on atmospheric pressure He/O2 plasma jet and microfabricated Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) nozzle have been developed with advantages of simple-structure, flexibility, and parallel processing capacity. The plasma was generated in the glass tube, forming the micron level plasma jet between the nozzle and the surface of polymer. The plasma microjet was capable of removing photoresist without masks since it contains oxygen reactive species verified by spectra measurement. The experimental results illustrated that different features of microholes etched by plasma microjet could be achieved by controlling the distance between the nozzle and the substrate, additive oxygen ratio, and etch time, the result of which is consistent with the analysis result of plasma spectra. In addition, a parallel etching process was also realized by plasma microjets array. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplasma Devices)
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Open AccessArticle Geometric Optimization of Microfabricated Silicon Electrodes for Corona Discharge-Based Electrohydrodynamic Thrusters
Micromachines 2017, 8(5), 141; doi:10.3390/mi8050141
Received: 4 April 2017 / Revised: 24 April 2017 / Accepted: 1 May 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
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Abstract
Electrohydrodynamic thrust is an emerging propulsion mechanism for flying insect-scale robots. There is a need to both minimize the operating voltage and maximize the output force when designing microfabricated electrodes for use in these robots. In this work, an array of hybrid wire-needle
[...] Read more.
Electrohydrodynamic thrust is an emerging propulsion mechanism for flying insect-scale robots. There is a need to both minimize the operating voltage and maximize the output force when designing microfabricated electrodes for use in these robots. In this work, an array of hybrid wire-needle and grid electrode geometries were fabricated and characterized to attempt to minimize both corona discharge onset voltage and thrust loss factor. Statistical analysis of this dataset was performed to screen for factors with significant effects. An optimized emitter electrode decreased onset voltage by 22%. Loss factor was found to vary significantly (as much as 30%) based on collector grid geometric parameters without affecting discharge characteristics. The results from this study can be used to drive further optimization of thrusters, with the final goal of providing a path towards autonomous flying microrobots powered by atmospheric ion engines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplasma Devices)
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Open AccessArticle Fabrication of SiNx Thin Film of Micro Dielectric Barrier Discharge Reactor for Maskless Nanoscale Etching
Micromachines 2016, 7(12), 232; doi:10.3390/mi7120232
Received: 14 October 2016 / Revised: 24 November 2016 / Accepted: 29 November 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7163 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The prevention of glow-to-arc transition exhibited by micro dielectric barrier discharge (MDBD), as well as its long lifetime, has generated much excitement across a variety of applications. Silicon nitride (SiNx) is often used as a dielectric barrier layer in DBD due
[...] Read more.
The prevention of glow-to-arc transition exhibited by micro dielectric barrier discharge (MDBD), as well as its long lifetime, has generated much excitement across a variety of applications. Silicon nitride (SiNx) is often used as a dielectric barrier layer in DBD due to its excellent chemical inertness and high electrical permittivity. However, during fabrication of the MDBD devices with multilayer films for maskless nano etching, the residual stress-induced deformation may bring cracks or wrinkles of the devices after depositing SiNx by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). Considering that the residual stress of SiNx can be tailored from compressive stress to tensile stress under different PECVD deposition parameters, in order to minimize the stress-induced deformation and avoid cracks or wrinkles of the MDBD device, we experimentally measured stress in each thin film of a MDBD device, then used numerical simulation to analyze and obtain the minimum deformation of multilayer films when the intrinsic stress of SiNx is −200 MPa compressive stress. The stress of SiNx can be tailored to the desired value by tuning the deposition parameters of the SiNx film, such as the silane (SiH4)–ammonia (NH3) flow ratio, radio frequency (RF) power, chamber pressure, and deposition temperature. Finally, we used the optimum PECVD process parameters to successfully fabricate a MDBD device with good quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplasma Devices)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Microplasma Field Effect Transistors
Micromachines 2017, 8(4), 117; doi:10.3390/mi8040117
Received: 16 February 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 21 March 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
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Abstract
Micro plasma devices (MPD) with power gains are of interest in applications involving operations in the presence of ionizing radiations, in propulsion, in control, amplification of high power electromagnetic waves, and in metamaterials for energy management. Here, we review and discuss MPDs with
[...] Read more.
Micro plasma devices (MPD) with power gains are of interest in applications involving operations in the presence of ionizing radiations, in propulsion, in control, amplification of high power electromagnetic waves, and in metamaterials for energy management. Here, we review and discuss MPDs with an emphasis on new architectures that have evolved during the past seven years. Devices with programmable impact ionization rates and programmable boundaries are developed to control the plasma ignition voltage and current to achieve power gain. Plasma devices with 1–10 μm gaps are shown to operate in the sub-Paschen regime in atmospheric pressures where ion-assisted field emission results in a breakdown voltage that linearly depends on the gap distance in contrast to the exponential dependence dictated by the Paschen curve. Small gap devices offer higher operation frequencies at low operation voltages with applications in metamaterial skins for energy management and in harsh environment inside nuclear reactors and in space. In addition to analog plasma devices, logic gates, digital circuits, and distributed amplifiers are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplasma Devices)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: DC microplasma jet for local a:C-H deposition operated in SEM chamber
Authors: Khanit Matra, Hiroshi Furuta and Akimitsu Hatta
Abstract: A DC micro plasma jet for local micro deposition of a:C-H film in the ambient vacuum of scanning electron microscope (SEM) chamber is proposed. An anode gas nozzle made of 1/8 inch stainless steel tube with a 30µm orifice at a closed end was inserted into the SEM chamber. Acetylene (C2H2) gas was locally fed into the chamber through the anode nozzle at 6.6 sccm in flow rate by applying 80kPa-pressure with direct pumping out by an additional turbo molecular pump equipped on the SEM chamber. As a cathode, a cut of n-type silicon (Si) wafer was placed right in front of the anode nozzle at 200µm gap distance. By applying a positive DC voltage to the anode nozzle, C2H2 plasma was generated locally between the electrodes. After ignition of discharge, the voltage increased and the current decreased due to deposition of insulating film on the Si wafer with resulting in automatic termination of discharge at the constant source voltage. A practically symmetric mountain-shaped a:C-H film of 5µm in thickness at the center was obtained by operation for 15s. Films are deposited with variation of gas flow rate, gap distance, voltage and current, and deposition time. The films are directly observed by SEM and analyzed by surface profile meter and by Raman Spectroscopy.
Keywords: Micro plasma jet; C2H2 plasma; thin film deposition

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