Polymethylmethacrylate wettability change spatially correlates with self-organized streamer microdischarge patterns in dielectric barrier discharge plasmas


Multifunctional polymer surfaces exhibiting both hydrophilic and hydrophobic functionality were created using self-organized plasma “streamer” microdischarges occurring in atmospheric pressure dielectric barrier discharges (DBD) operating with argon and air. Surface chemistry and wettability change of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) were found to spatially correlate with self-organized streamer patterns. Gas atmosphere was found to play a significant role on streamer density, pattern stability, and lateral contrast of plasma-induced physicochemical property changes across the surface. Stable streamer patterns, with each streamer surrounded by a glowlike discharge, were obtained in argon; discharges in air had more transient and chaotic streamers that were surrounded by dark “plasma free”-like zones. Air plasma streamer treatment of PMMA resulted in hybrid hydrophilic/phobic surfaces with water contact angles (WCA) ranging from 30° to 100° (PMMA WCA = 75°), depending on processing conditions and location. WCA and XPS mapping after treatment revealed that surface chemistry is preferentially modified near streamers, and moreover, that streamer exposure in air locally renders the surface more hydrophilic, surrounded by regions that are more hydrophobic. Overall, this work demonstrates that self-organized streamers in DBD plasmas could be used for scalable and localized modification of surfaces.

ICB Affiliated Authors

Oleksandr Polonskyi, Torge Hartig, Joshua R. Uzarski and Michael J. Gordon
Peer-Reviewed Article
Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A