Date of Award

Summer 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Leposava Vuskovic

Committee Member

Charles I. Sukenik

Committee Member

Gail Dodge

Committee Member

Alexander Godunov

Committee Member

Mileta Tomovic


We have developed several diagnostic techniques to characterize two types of microwave (MW) discharge plasmas: a supersonic flowing argon MW discharge maintained in a cylindrical quartz cavity at frequency ƒ = 2.45 GHz and a pulse repetitive MW discharge in air at ƒ = 9.5 GHz. Low temperature MW discharges have been proven to posses attractive properties for plasma cleaning and etching of niobium surfaces of superconductive radio frequency (SRF) cavities. Plasma based surface modification technologies offer a promising alternative for etching and cleaning of SRF cavities. These technologies are low cost, environmentally friendly and easily controllable, and present a possible alternative to currently used acid based wet technologies, such as buffered chemical polishing (BCP), or electrochemical polishing (EP). In fact, weakly ionized. non-equilibrium, and low temperature gas discharges represent a powerful tool for surface processing due to the strong chemical reactivity of plasma radicals. Therefore, characterizing these discharges by applying non-perturbing, in situ measurement techniques is of vital importance.


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