The study and characterisation of plasma microfluidic devices

Olabanji, Olumuyiwa, Olabanji, Olumuyiwa and Olabanji, Olumuyiwa
The study and characterisation of plasma microfluidic devices. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Controlling the behaviour of atmospheric pressure plasmas and their interaction with polymeric materials is of major interest for surface modification applications across multidisciplinary fields intersecting biomedical engineering, bio-nanoengineering, clinical/medical science, material science and microelectronics. The aim of the present work is to investigate the behaviour of atmospheric pressure dielectric barrier discharges in closed systems (microfluidic devices) and open systems (glass capillary devices) and their polymer-surface interactions. Atmospheric pressure microplasma jets operating in helium gas have been used to modify locally the surface energy of polystyrene (PS) and to interact directly with the surface of analytes using a novel plasma assisted desorption ionisation (PADI) method causing desorption and ionization to occur. Although atmospheric pressure micro-jets are now widely studied for the treatment of materials there is still a lack of understanding of the fundamental plasma-surface processes. A number of recent studies using plasma micro-jets for the surface modification of polymerics have used systems in which the emerging plume impinges directly the substrate head-on. Here, by placing the micro-jet side-on to the substrate we can observe how different flow regions of the jet affect the sample, allowing individual effects to be seen. In addition, this configuration may prove an efficient way of treating samples with reduced or no surface damage. These conclusions are considered to be an important contribution to the study of complex mechanisms underpinning the behaviour of radicals and reactive species in surface modification processes of polymeric materials. The study of the behavioural mechanism involved in the plasma was done using various diagnostic techniques such as electrical measurements, optical emission spectroscopy (OES), Time-averaged and time-resolved ICCD Optical Imaging and Schlieren Photography. The filamentary discharge mode was observed in bonded microchannels using metallic and liquid-patterned electrodes. The treated surfaces were characterised using various techniques such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Optical profiling measurements and Water Contact Angle (WCA) measurements. Schlieren photography has been used to indentify regions of laminar (pre-onset of visual instability) and turbulent flows (post-onset of visual instability) in the exiting gas stream and the nature of their interaction with the substrate surface. The length of both regions varies depending on operating parameters such as frequency, applied voltage and flow rate. WCA results from treated polystyrene (PS) samples exposed directly facing the microjet reveals a change from hydrophobic (high contact angle) to a hydrophilic (low contact angle) surface with substantial reductions in WCA (~ 50 to 60 °) occurring in downstream regions where the turbulent gas mixed with air impinges the substrate surface. In contrast, only small changes in WCA (~ 10 to 20 °) occur in regions where the gas flow is laminar. AFM imaging of treated PS samples reveal holes and ripple like effect with a much larger area than that of the capillary seen on treated samples positioned “head-on” and directly facing the sample but this was not seen using the side-on configuration. The results indicate that excited air species (either mixed or entrained in the He gas flow) which exist only in regions of turbulence are the main agents causing surface covalent bond breaking leading to surface modification. This thesis reports on atmospheric pressure microdischarges and their applications, a brief summary of work done so far including major results, using new and existing technologies including those under development in terms of design, properties and working conditions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2012-04 (completed)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2012 11:07
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:36
DOI: 10.17638/00006533
  • Bradley, James