The innovation engine for new materials

Nikki Le


Sanger High School

Grade Level: 

High School

Teaching Position: 

General Chemistry and AP Chemistry


Mike Gordon




Oleksandr Polonskyi

Research Project Year: 


Research Project Title: 

Microplasma Jet Modification of Polymer Surfaces

Research Project Description: 

Multifunctional surfaces found in nature have received significant interest from the scientific community because they provide careful control of surface chemistry and structure over different length scales. For example, a lotus leaf has self cleaning properties due to its ultrahydrophobicity; the nanostructure of the lotus leaf prevents the adhesion of water which allows for water to pick up dirt particles. The project attempts to manipulate surface chemistry and structure with a microplasma jet to create multifunctional surfaces that have hydrophobic/phillic, antibacterial, and/or self-cleaning properties. The goal of this work was to characterize fluid flow and electrical properties of the microplasma jet, and how a microplasma jet can modify surface chemical and structural properties. Current-voltage (IV) data and images of the microplasma jet were taken under different current, argon flow, background gas pressure, and jet-substrate distance conditions. Microplasma jets were then used to modify surface structure and chemistry of silicon and polymer substrates; surfaces were characterized using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, water contact angle, and atomic force microscopy.  Initial characterization results suggest an ordered microstructure of these substrates after controlled exposure to the microplasma jet.



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