Plasma Process Gases

By varying the process gas, plasma processing may be used for chemical and mechanical contamination removal, oxidation, activation, crosslinking and deposition. Below are some of the most commonly used gases for plasma treatment.

One important consideration when selecting your process gas is the compatibility of the gas with your vacuum pump. For Oxygen, you will need to consider an Oxygen Service Pump, one that does not use hydrocarbon pump oil. These pumps are often cleaner and more versatile, being compatible with oxygen as well as inert gases. 

Benefits of Plasma Cleaning

Plasma cleaning removes organic contaminants by chemical reaction (O2 or air plasma) or physical ablation (Ar plasma). Plasma treatment also introduces chemical functional groups (carbonyl, carboxyl, hydroxyl) on the surface, rendering most surfaces hydrophilic. This is observed as a decrease in water contact angle and increased wettability. A clean, as well as hydrophilic surface, is often critical to promote adhesion and enhance bonding to other surfaces.

Air or Oxygen (O2)

  • Contamination removal (chemical)
  • Oxidation process
  • Surface activation (wetting & adhesion)
  • Etch (organics)
  • NOTE: a special oxygen service vacuum pump must be used in conjunction with O2 gas in order to avoid risk of possible injury; inquire with Harrick Plasma for details

Argon (AR)

  • Contamination removal (ablation)
  • Surface activation (wetting & adhesion)
  • Crosslinking

Nitrogen (N2)

  • Surface activation (wetting & adhesion)

Water Vapor (H2O)

  • Surface activation (hydroxyl groups)

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.