Polymer pre-treatment by linear anode layer source plasma for adhesion improvement of sputtered TiN coatings
Publication from Materials
Vacuum 83 (2), pp. 302-307, 2008
The pre-treatment of work-piece surfaces is decisive for improved adhesion of tribological, decorative, sensor, biocompatible, etc. coatings subsequently deposited by vacuum coating techniques. Most current industrial techniques (mainly glow discharges) miss the requirements for activating temperature-sensitive and electrically insulating materials. Gridless plasma sources like the linear anode layer ion source are an excellent alternative due to their low investment and operating costs and scalability to many industrial applications, and also due to the measured plasma characteristics (low surface charging, broad energy distribution). The appreciable increase of adhesion by anode layer source plasma pre-treatment and the effects of ion energy and gas composition are presented for room temperature sputtered titanium nitride coatings polyamide, polycarbonate, and poly(ethyleneterephtalate). For these polymers, the oxygen-based functionalization (chain-scissoring and cross-linking) strongly influence the wetting behaviour and improve the adhesion by suppressing adhesive cracking at low scratching loads. Low O2 contents in Ar–O2 discharge of 400 eV average ion energy lead to best coating adhesion.