Cleaning is required for the removal of contaminants from surfaces before they can be used in the manufacturing process. Plasma cleaning can be applied to an array of materials along with surfaces with complex geometries. A plasma cleaning system allows the efficient cleaning of a surface without having a negative impact on other properties of the surface. Over the past few decades, the efficiency of plasma cleaning has been recognized, and used for a variety of pre-processing cleaning of materials. The following is going to be some information on what plasma cleaning really is and what it’s used for.
Plasma is considered as the fourth state of matter. It is a unique processing medium when it comes to treating surfaces and for surface modifications. Plasma is ionized gas that consists of ions, electrons and neutral atoms. While electrons in the plasma exist at a higher temperature as compared to neutral gas, the plasma is always at near-ambient temperature with the density of its electron being around 1010 cm-3.
Plasma cleaning has the capabilities to effectively remove all organic contaminations from surfaces through the process of a chemical reaction (air plasma) or physical ablation (Ar plasma/ Argon plasma). A plasma cleaning system also works with chemical functional groups, such as, carboxyl, carbonyl and hydroxyl on the surface, which results in rendering most surfaces hydrophilic. Apart from being clean, a surface also has got to be hydrophilic, i.e. having a decreased amount of water contact angle with an increase in wettability in order to enhance the bonding or adhesion to other surfaces during the manufacturing process. Apart from that, plasma cleaning is also used to remove microbial contaminants from a surface, which makes it extremely beneficial for sterilization in biomaterials research applications.
Plasma Cleaning Applications
Plasma cleaning systems can be used for a variety of surface cleaning purposes before processing. It is efficient for removing surface oxidation and clearing mineral residue from surfaces. It is also used for preparing surfaces of plastics and elastomers, as well as for cleaning ceramics. It is also used for cleaning the surface of glass, as well as metal surfaces. Using efficient plasma cleaning systems eliminates the need for using chemical solvents.
One major benefit of using plasma cleaning is that the entire process is operator friendly and environmentally friendly. Apart from that, the operational cost of using plasma cleaning systems are low, while providing the highest quality in cleaning surfaces. Another benefit of using a plasma cleaning system is that it eliminates the need to use chemical solvents. As a result, using plasma cleaning eliminates the need for storage facilities or for making arrangements for solvent waste disposal. Plasma is a proven and effective method for critical surface preparation.
What is Oxygen Plasma Cleaning?
Oxygen plasma refers to any plasma cleaning process where oxygen is also used in the plasma chamber. Oxygen is also used in cleaning processes that are carried out before bonding. Oxygen can also be combined with other gasses as well to etch a surface. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that oxygen is the most common gas that is used in plasma cleaning. This is mainly due to its wide availability and low cost. Oxygen plasma can be created by using an oxygen source on a plasma system. Furthermore, all systems that are available for plasma etching can work with oxygen, since it is commonly used to clean non-metal surfaces such as glass, Teflon and plastics, and also increases the non-metallic surface’s wettability.
Plasma Cleaning Costs
The cost of plasma cleaning equipment is relatively cheap as compared to other types of material surface cleaning systems. Apart from that, the costs that goes into the equipment’s annual maintenance is also negligible, which is why the popularity of plasma cleaning has grown significantly over the years. Plasma cleaning is considered to be an effective and easy-to-use method to achieving better cleaning results over conventional cleaning processes. Plasma cleaning should be applied wherever a clean and reliable surface is needed. Plasma cleaning is not only easy and safe it’s is also environmentally friendly, and far more effective as compared to traditional wet chemical cleaning procedures.