Mechanism of the immobilization of surfactants on polymeric surfaces by means of an argon plasma treatment: Influence of UV radiation

J.P. Lens, B. Spaay, J.G.A. Terlingen, G.H.M. Engbers, Jan Feijen

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The mechanism of the immobilization of the surfactant sodium 10-undecenoate (C11(:)) on poly(ethylene) (PE) by means of an argon plasma treatment has been investigated. In particular, the influence of the vacuum ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the argon plasma on the immobilization was studied. For this purpose, PE samples were coated with C11(:) (PE/C11(:) samples) and treated with an argon plasma under different conditions. PE/C11(:) samples were placed inside (glow) and outside (afterglow) the visible region of the plasma. Additionally, polymer samples that were placed in the glow of the plasma were covered with lithium fluoride or quartz crystals. These materials are transparent for electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than 104 and 150 nm, respectively. Derivatization X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy was applied to characterize the modified polymer surfaces. It was demonstrated that vacuum UV radiation with a wavelength shorter than 150 nm made a predominant contribution to the process of immobilization. Under certain conditions it was possible to retain about 30% of the functional groups of the initially coated surfactant layer on PE. Furthermore, the UV radiation accounted for etching of PE and PE/C11(:) surfaces and initiated oxidation of the polymer surfaces.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)159-182
JournalPlasmas and polymers
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • IR-85776
  • argon plasma treatment
  • Langmuir probe measurements
  • vacuum UV
  • carboxylic acid groups
  • Surface modification

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