BENEFITS OF PLASMA CLEANING
Plasma Cleaner is used in the process of plasma cleaning which involves the elimination of impurities and contaminants from surfaces. It is done through the use of an energetic plasma or dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma created from gaseous species, which uses gases such as argon and oxygen. Mixtures are used too, such as air and hydrogen/nitrogen.
Plasma cleaning is beneficial as it removes organic contaminants by chemical reaction. One processing method is O or air plasma which removes organic contaminants by chemical reaction with highly reactive oxygen radicals and ablation by energetic oxygen ion. The other processing is called physical ablation or argon plasma which cleans by ion bombardment and physical ablation of contaminants off the surface, and does not react with the surface or alter surface chemistry. With these processes, plasma cleaning eliminates the use of chemical solvents and likewise eliminates the storage and disposal of solvent waste.
Another benefit of plasma cleaning is that it cleans surfaces with microscale porosity or microchannels which are usually not suitable for solvent cleaning because of the surface tension limitations. It also makes most surfaces hydrophilic, while lessening water droplet contact angle and while increasing surface wettability. It thus promotes adhesion and enhances the bonding to other surfaces.
Also, plasma cleaning prepares surface for subsequent processing such as film deposition or adsorption of molecules. It also sterilizes and removes microbial contaminants on the surface which is beneficial for biomedical applications and biomaterials.
Plasma cleaning basically cleans the surface without affecting the bulk properties of the material. It can treat a wide variety of materials as well as complex surface geometries such as semiconductor wafers and substrates (Si, Ge), glass slides and substrates, optics and optical fibers, oxides such as quartz, indium tin oxide (ITO), gold and metal surfaces, electron microscopy (EM) grids, and atomic force microscopy (AFM) cantilever tips.
The process of plasma cleaning is aimed at cleaning substrates to reduce background auto-fluorescence which originates from organic contaminants for fluorescence microscopy. It also has the capability to clean optics, crystals, cuvettes, and substrates for spectroscopic measurements .