Plasma confinement was succeeded by an optoelectronic system with the aid of a vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light source, called the photoemission-assisted plasma system. The photoemission-assisted plasma was generated by utilizing photoelectrons from the substrate cathode. The photoelectrons were emitted from the substrate by external VUV irradiation via the photoelectric effect and then worked as initial electrons triggering the plasma generation. The photoemission-assisted plasma was confined with bright luminescence in an argon atmosphere by controlling the flow rate and pressure. The plasma confinement survived at up to 6400 Pa, which was much higher than the pressure estimated from the current–voltage characteristics. These results suggested that the area exhibiting luminescence dominated by the γ regime becomes small as the argon flow rate increases; however, the area does not vanish because the VUV-excited photoelectrons are sufficiently supplied. The residual area is dominated by the α regime without luminescence. Thus, the photoemission-assisted plasma seems to be confined on the balance between α and γ regimes. Because the current in the α-regime area is one hundredth in magnitude compared with that in the γ-regime area, the actual current density results in over 40 times with strong luminescence. This confined plasma with certain voltage and current condition may be expected for developing a new plasma reaction system and for application in semiconductor engineering.

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