The present invention enables the production of stable, steady state, non-thermal atmospheric pressure rf capacitive .alpha.-mode plasmas using gases other than helium and neon. In particular, the current invention generates and maintains stable, steady-state, non-thermal atmospheric pressure rf .alpha.-mode plasmas using pure argon or argon with reactive gas mixtures, pure oxygen or air. By replacing rare and expensive helium with more readily available gases, this invention makes it more economical to use atmospheric pressure rf .alpha.-mode plasmas for various materials processing applications.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to The Regents of The University of California. The government has certain rights in the invention.