Plasma Technology

Learn more about the science and technology of plasma surface treatment and surface energy

Plasma Surface Etching

Plasma surface etching is a type of plasma treatment used to increase the surface area of a material on the microscopic scale. The surface of the component is etched with a reactive process gas.

Material from the surface is etched away, converted to the gas phase and removed by the vacuum system. The surface area is greatly increased, raising the surface energy and making the material easily wettable. Plasma surface etching is used before printing, gluing and painting and is particularly useful for processing of e.g. POM and PTFE, which cannot otherwise be printed on or bonded without the use of aggressive chemicals.

Plasma surface etching effects

Plasma Surface Etching - A microscopic image of a surface prior to plasma treatmentUntreated surface
Plasma Surface Etching - A microscopic image of a ptfe surface after plasma treatment displaying its improved etched and consequently rougher surfacePlasma treated surface

Controlled Reactive ion etching

Reactive ion etching delivers a highly directional flux of energetic, reactive ions to the material surface. In doing so, a precisely controlled patterning of the substrate occurs as an un-masked sample is etched away by the reactive ions. Each of our plasma systems can optionally be fitted with a reactive ion etch electrode making them a perfect, low-cost laboratory development tool in applications such as semiconductor or organic electronics research.

A scientific illustration of a part prior to plasma etchingBefore Plasma Treatment
A scientific illustration of a part during plasma surface etching processDuring plasma treatment
A scientific illustration of a part with a newly structure surface after plasma etchingAfter plasma treatment

Plasma etching is suitable for e.g.:

  • POM, PTFE, FEP, PFA
  • PTFE compounds
  • structuring silicon
  • photoresist ashing

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    Simon Baxter - BAE Systems, MAI

    BAE
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    Dr Ravi Desai - Making Lab, Francis Crick Institute

    Francis Crick Institute
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    Queens Uni Belfast
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    Tom Doak - Trak Microwave

    Queens Uni Belfast
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    Teledyne
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    University of Bradford
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    Warwick University
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    Heriot Watt University

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Henniker Plasma 3 Berkeley Court, Manor Park, Runcorn, WA7 1TQ, UK

+44 (0)1925 830 771   +44 (0)1925 800 035     info@plasmatreatment.co.uk