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A note on output files generated in a typical CCP simulation

In general, CFD-ACE+ writes the solution of a simulation into a DTF file. Users can then import this DTF file into a post processing tool like CFD-VIEW to analyze the solution. In addition to this DTF file, ACE+ solver also writes many other files that help the user in monitoring the convergence during the execution. Depending on the physics involved in the simulation different files are written by the solver. This tip provides an explanation about the important files that are written in a typical CCP simulation.

modelname.out

This file typically summarizes the solver’s understanding of the model setup:

  • Mesh-cell types, numbers
  • Material Properties
  • Model options specifically selected by the user for the simulation

During the simulation, messages pertaining to the progress of the simulation can be found here. These messages span the range from informational messages to critical errors encountered.

modelname.RSL

This file contains the residuals for all the solved physical variables in the simulation. The file can be opened from the GUI tab Run → View Residual. In a typical CCP simulation, the residuals may drop two orders of magnitude for the plasma variables during each CCP time step. Since this variation is written for every CCP time step by default, a huge file may be created. The frequency of writing this output file can be changed in Out → Set Residual Time Step Frequency. In addition to residuals, measures of convergence such as monitor plots, particle and energy balances should also be used.

modelname.CCPcnvg.MON

This file is written to monitor cycle-to-cycle variation and convergence of the CCP simulation. Multiple plasma characteristics are tracked and plotted for easy visualization. (Use Plot Monitor Point function in the Run tab to open and view this file). With multiple frequency cases, a frequency corresponding to the lowest common period is used for this tracking. An example is shown below:


Image

In a normalized plot, the measure on the vertical axis varies from -1 to 1 with values closer to 1 indicating convergence. A reasonable criterion for convergence is to require the curves plotted for every tracked plasma characteristic to be above 0.95 for at least a few rf cycles. The Special DTF Update flag PLASMA_CCP_AUTO_CONVERGE int 1 1 will automatically track this requirement, declare convergence and stop the simulation when it is met for 10 rf cycles. Since this convergence tracking uses reactor averages and summations at boundaries, monitor plots at various spatial locations are recommended to ensure that convergence is reasonable.

modelname.CCPavg

This file records volumetric averaged plasma characteristics and summations of fluxes at different boundaries to keep track of particle and energy balance in the CCP simulation. In a typical rf discharge simulation, cycle averaged quantities are summarized in this file. This is a useful means to check if the solution has reached a periodic steady state.

A redesigned modelname.CCPavg written in column format can be activated by checking the option Out → Advanced in the GUI. Only if this option is chosen, a monitor plot version of the same information is written to modelname.CCPavg.MON. (Use Plot Monitor Point function in the Run tab to open and view this file). An example is shown below:


Image

modelname.CCP.Status.MON

This file contains the information about the percentage of simulation completed and CFL like measure for the CCP simulation for each time step. A measure < 1 is better for convergence. (Use Plot Monitor Point function in the Run tab to open and view this file). An example is shown below:


Image

modelname.##.MON

Monitor points track the evolution of the solution at specified locations in the computational domain. When these variations in the solution remain unchanged (or alternatively reach a periodic state) the solution is close to convergence. Specify these locations in Out → Monitor Point in the GUI. Select the desired variables that they need to be monitored. A separate file modelname.##.MON is written for each monitor point, where ‘##’ is the number of the monitor point. (Use Plot Monitor Point function in the Run tab to open and view these files)

modelname.CVD

This file is written when the Chemistry module is activated and surface reactions are occurring. The deposition/etch rates at every boundary face of the reacting surface (if such reactions are occurring) are computed and written to this file. In the example CVD file below, xf is the x location of the face center, yf is the y location of the face center, zf is the z location of the face center, Dep/Etch Rate is the deposition/etch rate at each boundary face and SumYw-1 is the summation of the mass fractions at the wall of reacting species from the gas minus one. Note that the deposition/etch rate is reported in microns/min.


Image

CVD file format

modelname.CCP.BC.CurDens

This file contains phase-resolved voltage and current densities at all plasma - material interfaces for rf CCP simulations. In the past, a user has to import the DTF file into a post-processing tool to view these quantities. This file is written so that the user can quickly check these quantities in a text editor.

modelname.CCP.BC.Power

This file contains phase resolved currents and power delivered at plasma –metal interfaces for rf CCP simulations. User can check various quantities such as displacement current, ion current, electron current and Total power deposited at each of the plasma material interface.

In addition to the above files, user can get the summary files to check the Mass, Energy, and Species conservation by choosing the available options under Out → Summaries.

Additional files when coupled with SPICE

modelname.cir.in

This file is generated by the ACE solver as an input file for the coupled Spice solver. Note that this file name is reserved for the coupled ACE-Spice solvers to work smoothly. Therefore the input netlist (circuit model file chosen in the GUI) can be named anything but modelname.cir.in.

modelname.cir.out

This file is written out every time step with the results of the Spice model. The ACE solver reads this file to generate the input file for the next time step for the Spice solver.

Additional files when run in parallel

Following files are created once each for each processor: modelname.##.CCP.BC.CurDens, modelname.##.CCP.BC.Power, modelname.##.CVD, modelname.##.CCPavg. Where '##' is the processor number.

If you have any questions or would like to recommend a topic for future tips, please contact your ESI-Group Support Staff.

Regards
ESI CFD Support Team

 
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