Atmospheric pressure plasma processes are used in industry today primarily for activating and cleaning surfaces. Fraunhofer IST develops new, customer-oriented methods and plasma sources that make it possible to modify or coat different surfaces on 3D substrates in a suitable way. Areas of application can be found in microsystem technology, medical technology, the packaging and investment goods industry, the electronics industry, as well as the automotive and aerospace sectors.
When suitable gases and reagents are used, atmospheric pressure plasmas can also be employed to chemically functionalize surfaces with reactive groups and, thus, to optimally adjust adhesion.
Furthermore, methods are being developed which use microplasmas to provide a targeted local modification of surfaces in a range of less than 10 μm; this can be used, for example, to adjust the desired surface energy.
Plasma-assisted processes at atmospheric pressure, developed at the Fraunhofer IWS, make it possible to clean, activate as well as etch large-area surfaces. Likewise, high-quality functional layers can be deposited without the use of cost-intensive vacuum layers. Therefore, the institute has made it feasible to run continuous coating processes on temperature-sensitive materials as well as on slightly curved substrates of different thicknesses.