Plasma power supplies are direct current (DC) and radio frequency (RF) devices used in plasma generation equipment for applications such as sputtering, plasma etching, physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating, and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) coating. To achieve optimum sputtering conditions, a plasma generator modifies plasma properties, especially ion density. Plasma etching removes organic and inorganic contamination, increases wettability and bond strength, and removes residue from a variety of materials. Plasma equipment is used under precisely controlled conditions, without the safety hazards and liquid wastes associated with wet cleaning and etching. Plasma power supplies can be used for thermal spray coating, metal cutting/welding, steel melting and remelting, waste remediation, and tundish heating.
A plasma power supply can be an RF power supply or a DC power supply. An RF power supply can provide high power density and can eliminate the need for front-end DC-to-DC conversion components. Applications include plasma-based thin film processes for semiconductor, flat panel display, or data storage (DVD) manufacturing, A DC power supply delivers increased throughput, which is an important consideration for demanding PVD applications such as flat panel displays. An RF plasma generator manufacturer can design plasma power supplies for depth of cutting such as steady machine production cutting up to 13mm. Plasma power supplies can have rated power up to 15 MW, input voltages to 14.7 kV, single-phase or three-phase power, inputs to 2500 VDC or 6000 ADC, and duty cycles that vary with input currents. Duty cycle variations are expressed as a percentage, such as 100% at 60 amps and 40% at 80 amps.
Plasma power supplies meet standards published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), including IEC 60974-8 (arc welding equipment, part 8: gas consoles for welding and plasma cutting systems) and IEC 60680 (test methods of plasma equipment for electroheat applications). Plasma power supplies are also covered by publications from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), including IEEE 519 (on harmonic control in power systems) and IEEE 242 (on protection and coordination of industrial and commercial power systems - IEEE Buff Book). Products that meet U.S. military specifications (MIL-SPEC) are also available.