An advanced Langmuir probe for plasma diagnostics

  • Model: ESPion
  • Manufacturer: Hiden Analytica

The Hiden ESPION system provides automatic real-time acquisition of plasma parameters delivering detailed information for use in plasma characterisation and uniformity monitoring including:

  • PlasmaPotential
  • Electron Temperature
  • IonDensity
  • ElectronDensity
  • IonFlux

Electron Energy Distribution Function (EEDF)


  • Plasma Characterisation
  • Plasma Etching and ALE
  • HiPIMS
  • Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) Coating
  • Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) Coatings
  • DC Magnetron Deposition of SiBCN Films

The ESPion system employs Orbital Motion Limited (OML) and Allen Boyd Reynolds (ABR) as standard plasma analysis models.

The Hiden automatic Z-drive provides for spatially resolved measurements across the plasma volume. The standard Z-drive translation options are: 300, 600 and 900 mm.


  • ionand electron density over the range 1014 – 1019 m-3
  • electrontemperature up to 10 eV
  • plasmapotential
  • floatingpotential
  • Debyelength
  • IonFlux
  • EEDF

Plasma models used: Orbital motion Limited (OML) and Allen Boyd Reynolds (ABR) EEDF is determined by the Druyvestein method

The Hiden ESPION RF/DC probe features:

RF Compensation

An integral electrode senses the RF voltage, directly biasing the probe tip to significantly improve the RF compensation of the high impedance circuit.

Gas Cooling

Integral gas cooling of the main body of the probe ensures optimum operation of the high impedance circuit in high temperature environments.

Reference Probe

An integral second electrode compensates for low frequency fluctuations due to plasma potential drifts in reactors with poor ground reference and possible supply instabilities.

Flexible Probe Mounting Options

The Hiden ESPION probe can be mounted to the plasma chamber with either Conflat type, KF type or similar vacuum compatible flanges. A DN-35-CF (2¾” OD) Conflat flange standard. 

The Hiden ESPION control unit features:

ESPIONsoft Windows® Software

Probe operation is direct from a PC compatible computer with ESPIONsoft Windows® software providing for probe control, data acquisition, automatic, semi-automatic analysis and real time trend displays.

Auto Z-Motion Drive

Automatic Z-motion drive provides high accuracy and resolution for spatial mapping of the key plasma parameters across the bulk plasma under full software control.

Automatic Interscan Self-Clean Feature

Variable voltage for cleaning the probe tip by electron or ion bombardment. The cleaning routine is programmable as an automatic feature and it can be performed before the scans and during the scans.

Integrated Gate Circuitry

Fully integrated & software controlled gate circuitry with programmable delay and time increment options for high resolution time-resolved measurements.

Specially used in pulsed plasma operation or laser ablation studies.

Data Acquisition/Display Features


  • Fullyautomatic data acquisition with no requirement to pre-set acquisition parameters
  • Fulledit control of acquisition parameters
  • Automaticsave and recall of different acquisition recipes
  • Powerfulautomatic interscan clean routines with fully adjustable duty cycle
  • Automatedcontrol of probe position by a Linear Drive Z stage (if fitted)
  • Multi-scandata file acquisition with real-time display
  • Real-timeautomatic analysis of acquired data with a range of advanced theories
  • Userselectable display of analysed plasma parameters plotted relative to time or and probe position
  • Surface(3-D) display of analysed parameters
  • Trendreport of calculated plasma parameters plotted relative to the probe position and time


  • Manual,semi-automatic and fully automatic analysis of file data
  • Specificplasma probe data functions for the extraction of plasma parameters
  • Multiplegraph displays – any size
  • Multiplefiles open simultaneously
  • Standardmath operations on data curves (add, average, smooth, differentiate)
  • Datacurves may be combined mathematically, including a scan averaging feature
  • Perscan report of calculated plasma parameters including analysis statistics, slopes and intercepts
  • DynamicData Exchange (DDE) export of data to other Windows® applications
  • Importand analysis of ASCII X-Y data files, including those acquired on other equipment
  • Printgraphs and reports to many printer/plotter devices

Plasma models used: Orbital motion Limited (OML) and Allen Boyd Reynolds (ABR) EEDF is determined by the Druyvestein method


Voltage range -200 V to +100 V, step size/resolution 25m V
Current range 20 mA to 1 A
opto-isolated probe drive and measurement electronics
minimum resolution 12 bits
fastest sample time 15 scans/s
acquisition speed approx. 69,000 points/s
2 data channels tip current, ref. voltage. 
acquisition system bandwidth  1 MHz
system response 0.5 useconds with RF compensated probe
rise/fall time  see note 1 0.375 useconds with uncompensated probe
clean potential from -200 V up to 100 V
inter-scan cleaning* variable
*20 ms cleaning and 5ms acquire on 25 ms cycle, or 100 ms cleaning and 5 ms acquire on 105 ms cycle.
Trigger modes: edge (rising/falling) and level (high/low) 
trigger edge resolution 62.5 nanosecond
max. trigger pulse frequency  3 MHz

Hiden ESPion Advanced Langmuir Probe for Plasma Diagnostics & Characterisation


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