Radio frequency (rf) discharges are widely used for technological applications. Despite this, power dissipation mechanisms in these discharges are not yet fully understood. The limited understanding is mainly caused by the complexity of underlying phenomena and very restricted experimental access. Recent advances in phase resolved optical emission spectroscopy (PROES) in combination with adequate modeling of the population dynamics of excited states allow deeper insight into underlying fundamental processes. This paper discusses the application of PROES in a variety of rf‐discharges, such as: capacitively coupled plasmas (CCP), dual‐frequency CCP (2f‐CCP), inductively coupled plasmas (ICP), and magnetic neutral loop discharges (NLD).

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