Plastics Innovation Competence Center (PICC) and iPRINT Center are carrying out research projects on the new technology plasma for surface processing applications. Plasma is known for a while to be able to modify various type of surfaces in order to improve adhesion or functionalize surfaces.
Up to know most industrial atmospheric plasma treatments are based on Corona. If this technology is well optimized, it only produces radicals on surfaces that are not stable in the long term. Recent progress in plasma technology has enable now to directly inject chemicals or biomolecules within the plasma in order to improve adhesion, release or functionalize the surface to generate a specific bioactivity or super hydrophobicity.
At PICC, such a machine to generate cold atmospheric plasma has been acquired. Research projects are on-going on biomolecules immobilization and surface treatment for enhancing respectively antimicrobial activity and adhesion to inks or polymer.
iPRINT Center in collaboration with Systemtechnik Institute of HES-SO Valais-Wallis are working on digital cold plasma technology. The technical challenge is to find an array type, for example based on micro-hollow or dielectric barrier discharges, which allows controlling each single nozzle separately in order to build a plasma-on-demand multi-nozzle jet head. In a final stage, the resolution should be increased to allow an inkjet-like application.