Plasma Cleaner

The website of Harrick Plasma describes plasma cleaning as follows:

“Plasma treatment allows for removal of nanoscale and residual contamination as well as activation of surfaces without the alteration of bulk material properties. Plasma treatment occurs at near-ambient temperature, minimizing the risk of damage to heat-sensitive materials. Depending on process gases and usage configuration, plasma treatment can be used for cleaning, activation, sterilization and general alteration of surface characteristics. Plasma can be applied to a wide variety of materials; as such, plasma can also treat assemblies made of different materials.”

Location: Maryland Hall 45 (basement level)

Contact information for training: Contact Phil Chapman ([email protected]) in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Manufacturer: Harrick Plasma


Plasma Cleaning

  • Conventional cleaning methods often fail to completely remove surface films, leaving a thin contamination layer; additionally, solvent cleaning typically leaves a surface residue.
  • Plasma cleaner use exposes the surface to a gas plasma discharge, gently and thoroughly scrubbing the surface.
  • Plasma cleaning will remove non-visible oil films, microscopic rust or other contaminants that typically form on surfaces as a result of handling, exposure or previous manufacturing or cleaning processes; additionally, plasma cleaning does not leave a surface residue.
  • A plasma cleaner can treat both a wide variety of materials – including plastics, metals and ceramics – as well as complex surface geometries
  • A plasma cleaner is most commonly used prior to adhesive bonding both to clean away loosely held contaminant residues and to activate the surface for increased bonding strength

Surface Alteration of Polymers

The breaking of polymer surface bonds by plasma ablation leads to the creation of polymeric surface free radicals. The bonding of these surface free radicals with atoms or chemical groups from the plasma leads to the replacement of surface polymer functional groups with new functional groups, based upon the chemistry of the plasma process gas. Typical polymer functional groups formed through plasma surface activation and grafting include: amine amino-carboxyl, carboxyl hydroxyl and fluorination carbonyl.


Three adjustable RF power settings: 7.2 W, 10.2 W, and 29.6 W.

Chamber Dimensions: 6” diameter X 6” deep

Gas supply: Oxygen is the standard gas hooked up, but others are available.

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