Information about low pressure plasma systems & processes
What is plasma?
Plasma is a reactive gas consisting of free energetic electrons, ions and neutral particles.
In addition to solid, liquid and gaseous a certain state of matter called plasma (Greek: the malleable) is called the fourth state of aggregation.
By supplying energy, gas is ionized - therefore a plasma is formed! In a plasma atoms, molecules, ions and electrons move freely, interact among each other and the item which has to be treated. Its surface can be refined and modified in manifold ways. Completely new and innovative surface characteristics can be created as well improving or making already existing processing technologies more effective in an environmental friendly way.
By introducing small amounts of specific gases into the plasma and controlling the level of vacuum in the chamber the effect on the work piece to be treated can be controlled. Additionally sacrificial targets of various materials can be introduced to the chamber to allow coating of the work piece with these materials via the plasma. We explain these more fully in our page on Plasma processing....
The fine-cleaning of metals is an important field for low-pressure plasma technology. The contaminants are solved from the surface into the gas phase by chemical reactions with the ionised gas particles and pumped away by the pumping system. Therefore the surface is cleaned residue-free and can be treated by a following process step
Fine-cleaning of metal in plasma
During Plasma activation functional groups are generated on the items surface to which paint- or glue-systems can bond.
Through plasma-etching and plasma-structuring the plasmas reactive species mill material off the surface of the items being treated. The resulting micro structure has a larger surface area which improves bonding of the coating by providing the coating with more adhesion locations.
During plasma-coating / plasma-deposition polymers are deposited onto the items surface. The gases used for the process determine the surface characteristics of the processed item.
Layers deposited can be:
- protective (anti-scratch, anti-fog)
- adhesion supporting functional layers (plasma-primer) used as bond between the substrate material (item material) and the following coating.