Atomic N and excited N2(N2*) play important roles in plasma-assisted synthesis of nitride materials, such as GaN. Absolute densities of N and N2* were measured at the substrate plane in an inductively coupled N2 plasma in the pressure range of 10 to 200 mTorr using modulated-beam line-of-sight threshold ionization mass spectrometry. The density of N increased with increasing pressure from 2.9×1018 to 1.8×1019m−3, while the density of N2* was in the range of 9.7×1017 to 2.4×1018m−3, with a maximum at 50 mTorr. Based on the appearance potential of N2* at ∼12 eV, we identify this excited molecule as long-lived N2(A3Σu+) metastable.

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