Nanotech 2010

Atmospheric Plasma Surface Modification of Polytetrafluoroethylene Films for Metal Deposition

B.E. Stein, A.A. Bujanda, K.E. Strawhecker, D.D. Pappas
U.S. Army Research Laboratory, US

Keywords: PTFE, atmospheric plasmas, adhesion


This work details the use of atmospheric-pressure dielectric barrier discharge plasmas to enhance the adhesion of thin metal coatings to PTFE films. Differences in energetic plasma species have a pronounced effect on resulting wettability. Increased exposure to energetic oxygen ions in a He-O2 plasma leads to an increase in water contact angle, indicating either a chemical restructuring of the PTFE surface, and/or the creation of a smoother surface. Our initial results show a maximum decrease in water contact angle of approximately 21° after only 10 seconds of He-O2 plasma exposure. Scanning electron microscopy imaging performed on plasma-treated surfaces reveal changes in morphology, indicating physical etching and roughness changes caused by the plasma. A comprehensive study is also planned to observe the effect of various plasma parameters on surface energy; such as gas flow rate and composition, power output, and the effects of any evaporated monomer precursors. Additionally, a T-peel type test will be used to evaluate the strength of the polymer/metal interface. This test will also be used to quantify the extent of metal removal during testing.
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