Plasma Technology

Water Drop on untreated and plasma treated surfaceDiener FEMTO UHP
Plasma technology can be used in circumstances where you would like to improve a material surface properties. Standard applications include

  • Cleaning of residues such as hydrocarbons
  • Activation before gluing, painting or printing
  • Etching to partially remove surfaces as often used in semiconductor processes
  • Coating of surfaces with PTFE like layers as protective barrier or to reduce friction

Plasma Technology vs Flame / Chemical Treatment

Compared to other methods, like flame treating or using chemicals to treat a surface, plasma technology shows many significant advantages:

  • Many surface properties can be obtained exclusively with plasma treatment
  • Can be used in online production or be operated independently and environmentally friendly process
  • Regardless of geometry you are able to treat powder, small parts, discs, fleece, textiles, tubing, bottles, circuit boards, etc.
  • Fabricated parts will not be mechanically changed
  • Heating of the parts is minimal
  • Operating costs are very low
  • Extremely safe to operate
  • Process is extremely energy efficient

Plasma Characterisation

Plasma Measurementation

Atmospheric Pressure PlasmaAtmospheric Pressure Plasmas

Unlike low-pressure plasma or high-pressure plasma, in atmospheric-pressure plasma, no chamber is required to maintain a certain pressure level. Therefore, no costly chamber for producing a partial vacuum is needed.

Atmospheric-pressure plasma are a continuous process and need more measurement to control them than batch processes traditionally used in low pressure application, as atmospheric plasma are less contained and more difficult to control.


Dusty PlasmaDusty Plasma

Dusty plasma, or complex plasma, contains particles sized between a millimetre and a nanometre, which can also combine to form larger particles known as “grain plasmas”. These particles are charged, and both the particles and the plasma behave as a plasma.

Measuring the dust directly is difficult because of the small size; in addition, measuring the charge on each dust particle is tricky because of the tiny charge. The most straightforward way to measure the dust density and charge is to measure the plasma density and temperature and calculate the dust parameters.


HiPIMS PlasmaHiPIMS Plasma

A method for physical vapour deposition of thin films, High-Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS), or High-Power Pulsed Magnetron Sputtering, uses extremely high power densities in short pulses of tens of microseconds at low duty cycle. The sputtered metal features a high degree of ionisation and a high rate of molecular gas dissociation, which result in high density deposited films. In HiPIMS, there is a need to measure time-resolved ion flux, neutral to ion ratio and degree of ionisation at substrate. It is also important to distinguish metal ions from background gas such as helium or argon.


Ion BeamIon Beam

Similar in concept to sandblasting, the ion beam application uses individual atoms in an ion beam to ablate a target. The physical sputtering effect is improved by using chemical reactivity in a process known as reactive ion etching. Focused ion beam instruments use a high-brightness beam in a scanned raster pattern to remove material in exact rectilinear patterns.

Broad ion beams are used to coat optical components where the ion beam assists the chemical reaction and helps remove non-volatile material during the process.


PECVD PlasmaPECVD Plasma

Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) is used to deposit thin films from a gas state to a solid state on a substrate. The process uses a plasma generally created by RF frequency or DC discharge between two electrodes. There is a need to measure the plasma uniformity of plasma density and electron temperature to understand the reaction rate of processes of interest.


Plasma EtchingPlasma Etching

Used in integrated circuits, plasma etching shoots an appropriate gas mixture at high speed at a chosen sample. The plasma, or etch species, can be either charged ions or neutral atoms and radicals. The physical properties of the target will be modified as the atoms of the shot element will embed themselves at or just underneath the surface of the target.

There is a need to measure ion and neutral flux, energy, and angle arriving at the etch surface. In addition, for pulsed shots, these parameters need to be time-resolved.


Space PlasmaSpace Plasma

Much of the baryonic matter of the universe is believed to consist of plasma, or an ionized gas consisting of negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions. These particles are charged, and are therefore strongly influenced by electromagnetic forces. All known astrophysical plasmas are influenced by magnetic fields. Scientists use plasma chambers to replicate the plasma state in space to understand how the plasma and the spacecraft interact. Therefore, diagnostics are needed to confirm that the plasma has the correct parameters to replicate what is found in space.


Sputter PlasmaSputtering Plasma

In sputtering, energetic particles bombard the target, therefore removing atoms. The kinetic energy of the incoming particles must be much higher than conventional thermal energies (≫ 1 eV). The process is commonly used for thin-film deposition, etching and analytical techniques.

Measuring the time resolved and space resolved ion distribution and energy is important in understanding the functioning of any specific sputter process.


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