A Novel Atmospheric Pressure High Power Impulse Plasma Source (AP-HiPIPS) for Field Applicable Protective Coatings

V. Poenitzsch, R. Wei, M.A. Miller, K. Coulter
Southwest Research Institute,
United States

Keywords: plasma, superhydrophobic, coating


Southwest Research Institute is currently developing a novel Atmospheric ¬Pressure High Power Impulse Plasma Source (AP-HiPIPS) for the deposition of field applicable protective coatings. AP-HiPIPS generates high density plasmas using advanced pulsed DC generators in combination with atmospheric pressure plasma jets. AP-HiPIPS is an ambient pressure non-thermal plasma source with power, current, precursor dissociation and flux, ion energy and precursor diversity properties that are comparable with vacuum plasma systems. AP-HiPIPS has demonstrated, at proof-of-concept level, the ability to deposit durable coatings at ambient conditions. Non-limiting examples include superhydrophobic protective coatings such as diamond-like carbon, silicon oxide (SiOx) coatings as well as metallic and ceramic coatings including copper, stainless steel, and titanium nitride (TiN) coatings. An important utility of the AP-HiPIPS technology in the context of depositing functional coatings lies in its ability to provide plasmas treatments starting from one or more chemical precursors, otherwise inaccessible by conventional atmospheric plasma processes. The high impulse power provided by AP-HiPIPS affords control over the extent to which chemical precursors are ionized and fragmented in the plasma phase. This control is used advantageously to tailor the process chemistry such that a desired property of the coating is achieved. A variety of AP-HiPIPS precursors ranging from inert gases, molecular gases, liquids, and solids have been demonstrated. The design and operation characteristics of the AP-HiPIPS will be discussed and preliminary results will be presented.