One-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation is used to simulate the capacitively coupled argon plasma for a range of excitation frequency from 13.56 MHz to 100 MHz. The argon chemistry set can, selectively, include two metastable levels enabling multi-step ionization and metastable pooling. The results show that the plasma density decreases when metastable atoms are included with higher discrepancy at a higher excitation frequency. The contribution of multistep ionization to the overall density increases with the excitation frequency. The electron temperature increases with the inclusion of metastable atoms and decreases with the excitation frequency. At a lower excitation frequency, the density of Ar** (3p5 4p, 13.1 eV) is higher than that of Ar* (3p5 4s, 11.6 eV), whereas at higher excitation frequencies, the Ar* (3p5 4s, 11.6 eV) is the dominant metastable atom. The metastable and electron temperature profile evolve from a parabolic profile at a lower excitation frequency to a saddle type profile at a higher excitation frequency. With metastable, the electron energy distribution function (EEDF) changes its shape from Druyvesteyn type, at a low excitation frequency, to bi-Maxwellian, at a high frequency plasma excitation; however, a three-temperature EEDF is observed without metastable atoms.

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