Plasma Cleaning

Harrick PlasmaBenefits of Plasma Cleaning

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 ApplicationsFor 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. 

Example 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:

Figure 1. Water droplet contact angle measurements on 3 different borosilicate glass surfaces: (a) halocarbon wax-coated (92°), (b) untreated (32°), and (c) argon plasma-cleaned using a Harrick Plasma cleaner (<10°). Source: Sumner, A. L., E. J. Menke, Y. Dubowski, J. T. Newberg, R. M. Penner, J. C. Hemminger, L. M. Wingen, T. Brauers, B. J. Finlayson-Pitts. “The Nature of Water on Surfaces of Laboratory Systems and Implications for Heterogeneous Chemistry in the Troposphere.” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. (2004) 6: 604-613 – Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry (

Harrick Plasma is a leading supplier of plasma equipment to the research community. We have been providing quality tabletop plasma devices specifically designed for laboratory and R&D use for over 30 years.