Selected area functionalization of polymeric components by gaseous plasma (L2-2616)

Project Leader: Prof. Dr Miran Mozetič (Jozef Stefan Institute)

Initial stages in functionalization of epoxy polymers using reactive species from non-equilibrium gaseous plasma will be elaborated. Of particular importance are O-atoms, OH radicals and synergies with charged particles and UV/VUV radiation from gaseous plasma. Samples will be treated first with low-pressure plasma to determine the functionalization kinetics and fluences of species needed for saturation of the polymer surface with different polar functional groups. In the next step, atmospheric pressure plasma of appropriate densities or reactive species (as determined in the first step) will be used. The surface finish will be determined by measuring two-dimensional mapping of contact angles of selected liquids, and 2D mapping of surface functionalities by XPS and AFM/SEM. Lateral uniformity of surface activation on a millimetre scale will be elaborated, as well as kinetics of hydrophobic recovery. The goal is uniform functionalization over the printable area of about cm2 in a time scale of about 0.1 s. The results will enable our industrial partner (and co-financer of this applied project) develop a professional plasma device for activation of polymeric products for optimal adhesion of inks deposited by ink-jet printing. The innovative solution might be adopted in mass production of over 100,000 pieces annually if the results are according to hypotheses.