Plasma cleaning removes organic contaminants and prepares surfaces for subsequent processing through the introduction of chemical functional groups. Benchtop plasma cleaners tune surface chemistry quickly and easily, without hazardous wet chemicals.
This article discusses the general benefits of plasma cleaning. For application notes discussing more specific topics, visit our Applications. For references citing the use of our plasma cleaners, categorized by research application, visit our Technical Library.
Benefits of Plasma Cleaning
Plasma cleaning removes organic contaminants by chemical reaction (O2 or air plasma) or physical ablation (Ar plasma). Plasma cleaning also introduces different chemical functional groups (hydroxyl, carbonyl, carboxyl, amine) on material surfaces, dependent on the process gas.
Plasma renders most surfaces hydrophilic, which can be observed as a decrease in water contact angle and increased wettability [Figure 1]. A clean and hydrophilic surface is often critical to promote adhesion and to enhance bonding with other surfaces. In addition, plasma can be used to sterilize and remove microbial contaminants on the surface, beneficial for biomedical and biomaterials research applications.
Surfaces can be plasma cleaned without affecting the bulk properties of the material. As such, plasma treatment can be applied to a wide variety of materials as well as complex surface geometries. Below are examples applications and samples that have been treated in our plasma instruments:
- AFM cantilevers
- Glass and semiconductor wafers prior to subsequent deposition
- Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) Bonding for microfluidic device fabrication
- Electron microscopy (EM) grids
- Cell Adhesion for Cell Adhesion and Tissue Engineering
- Quartz crystals for quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) measurements
- Nanoparticles plasma-treated to tune particle size and alter surface chemistry