What is Plasma Technology and How Does it Work?
When a matter is continuously supplied with energy, its temperature rises, and it transitions from solid to liquid to gaseous state. If the energy supply is maintained, the existing atomic shell disintegrates, resulting in the formation of charged particles (negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions). This mixture is known as plasma, also known as the "fourth state of matter."
In a nutshell, the aggregate state has changed due to energy supply:
solid > liquid > gaseous > plasma
Natural plasma can be found in lightning, polar lights, flames, and the sun, among other places. Plasma can be found in neon tubes, welding processes, and flash bulbs, among other places.
Fields of Applications
Plasma is used in applications where it is necessary to combine materials or change their surface properties specifically. Plasma technology is now widely used in almost every industry sector, and new applications are constantly being developed. This cutting-edge technology enables the modification of a wide range of surfaces. As a result, many different applications are possible, such as:
All surfaces have ultra-fine contaminations that are not visible to the naked eye. These contaminations must almost always be removed as a prerequisite for flawless further surface treatment, such as:
gluing, printing, painting, bonding, coating, and etching
Plasma technology has solutions for every type of contamination, substrate, and post-treatment. Molecular contamination residues are also decomposed during the process. Different cleaning processes are available for different requirements in each case.
Activation of Materials
For binding partners to adhere while painting, gluing, printing, or bonding, there must be good wettability. Oil and grease contamination is not the only factor that affects wetting; many materials have surfaces that, even when clean, do not allow for adequate wetting by numerous liquids like adhesives and paints. The substance slides off. It won't stick to the surface either after curing or drying.
This is caused by the substrate's low surface energy. Low surface energy substances hydrate high surface energy ones, but not the other way around. Therefore, the applied liquid's surface energy, often referred to as surface tension in the case of liquids, must be lower than that of the substrate.
Etching of Materials
The removal of material from surfaces using plasma techniques is known as plasma etching. Since traditional etching processes include the use of harsh acids and wet chemical techniques, it is often referred to as dry etching. The material to be etched overall state is changed from solid to gaseous by the plasmas of the process gases, and the gaseous products are then extracted by the vacuum pump. Only partial sections or structures can be etched using masks. Since most etching gases can only be utilized in low-pressure plasma, and since a longer treatment period is required to produce detectable etching results, plasma etching is only performed in this environment.
There are numerous applications for plasma etching. Select one of the three main etching procedures and a choice of process gases to best tailor the etching process to the application.
- Ion etching
- Chemical plasma etching
- Reactive ion etching
Coating of Materials
Components can be tempered with a variety of coatings using plasma. By providing gaseous and liquid starting materials, this is accomplished. In the plasma, the raw ingredients, which are primarily short-chain monomers, crosslink to create long-chain polymers. The qualities of the coat are determined by the choice of basic materials:
Hydrophobic (water repellent) | Hydrophilic (water attracting / wetting) | Scratch protection, corrosion protection | Carbon coats | Barrier / Diffusion barrier | PTFE-like| Anti-friction coats / Nonstick coats | Adhesion promoter / Primer | Water / steam barrier | Metallization | Nano-silver
Plasma Systems at a Glance
Plasma technology provides a wide range of surface modification options. Diener Electronics’ produces plasma systems in a variety of configurations (size, processes, controls, etc.) The plasma systems are distinguished between low-pressure plasma and atmospheric plasma.
Gas is stimulated in a vacuum by an energy source in low-pressure plasma technology. This produces energetic ions, electrons, and other reactive particles that constitute the plasma
A plasma is ignited when gas is stimulated by a high voltage at atmospheric pressure using atmospheric plasma technology. From the nozzle, compressed air expels the plasma.
Low-Pressure Plasma Systems
A wide range of surface modification options are available with low-pressure plasma, including fine-cleaning of contaminated components, plasma activation of plastic parts, etching of PTFE or silicon, and coating of plastic parts with PTFE-like layers. As a result, low-pressure plasma is used in a wide range of sectors when it comes to mixing materials or specifically altering surface properties.
Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Systems
There are several applications for atmospheric pressure plasma. However, the systems are primarily made to clean and activate polymers, metals, ceramic, glass, and hybrid materials as well as other surfaces locally. Nevertheless, coating can also be done via the plasma jet method. Diener Electronics’ atmospheric pressure plasma systems are specially created to be used with robots and to be integrated into existing automated manufacturing lines.
Usage of Plasma Technology
In many different industries, plasma technology is applied to solve a variety of issues.
- Automotive Industry
- Consumer goods industry
- Medical engineering
- Solar Technology
- Textile Industry
- Watchmaking and jewellery industry
- Packaging Industry