Plasma Cleaning

Specifically, we are discussing Low pressure plasma cleaning on this page.

A safe environmentally friendly process capable of removing a very wide range of contaminants from the surface of a material, without damaging the product.

Also ideal as a preparation for further processes such as painting or bonding.

metal parts being cleaned in the plasma chamber

Plasma Cleaners

Our plasma cleaners are extremely versatile enabling several processes to be carried out without the need for removal of the product from the vacuum chamber, for example:

  • Cleaning
  • Etching
  • priming

We will be pleased to discuss your needs; our engineers have experience of cleaning a wide range materials, from Diamonds to wood.

We supply some of the most advanced cleaners capable of meeting the stringent surface requirements for advanced EUV lithography.

Plasma cleaner. Showing a plasma cleaner for production and a small desktop system

Plasma cleaning processes

All our plasma cleaners can be programmed to carry a wide range of cleaning tasks.

The contamination to be targeted and the product material determine the process and gas of choice. In some cases, the material used to construct the chamber and racks etc. to hold the product may need to be made of a material that prevents cross contamination.

The group of photos on the right show a glass plate which was deliberately contaminated with soot through through a mask of our logo.

The top right shows this on introduction into the plasma chamber.

Bottom left is after 60 seconds in the plasma and bottom right after 120seconds.

These times may vary according to the level and type of the contamination.

Oxygen plasma cleaning of a glass panel contaminated with soot

Plasma is an activated gas and as such even the smallest of surface contours are cleaned.

Plasma cleaning is ideal for removing thin layers of contamination that may not be visible but will prevent adhesion of surface coatings such as paint, adhesives or molding materials.

A wide range of product forms can be treated from machined parts, circuit boards, powders roll goods. Take a look at some of the chamber options or call us to discuss your needs.

Video demonstrating how plasma cleaning works. Both Oxygen cleaning and sputtering.

Often referred to as Oxygen cleaning

This process is suitable for removing thin layers of contamination (layer thickness in the nanometer range) from many materials. However, if the surface of the product oxidizes easily (silver for example) an alternative gas should be considered.

Contamination from production or other handling needs to be removed to ensure the quality of subsequent processes. In the case of bonding or painting plasma cleaning may be the first preparation step to ensure consistent quality.

The effectiveness of this process can be monitored in the chamber as the color of the plasma changes with the amount of organic being removed at any one time. The photo on the right shows the change from purple to a yellowish green as the amount of contamination decreases.

color change of the plasma form high contamination to clean

Depending on the end specification there may be a need to reduce inorganic from the surface of the parts.

This may require the use of gasses other than Oxygen.

For example, Argon with its higher molecular weight can produce a micro sandblasting effect to remove unwanted surface contaminants such as zinc and lead for example.

A double door chamber is recommended for applications with a need for extreme surface cleanliness to form a lock to a clean area and ensure separation of treated and untreated components.

Removal of oxides with plasma from an old 2 cent coin