Plasma Treatment of PDMS for Microfluidics

An important field for Low Pressure Plasma Applications on PDMS is the design of microfluidic systems. Microfluidic devices are produced from a special class of PDMS, in general from the product Sylgard 184 which is designed and structured individually for each specific application in general. The final user often performs several processes by plasma treatment such as bonding to other PDMS components or to Si-containing elements like glass or pure silicon.

Examples for plasma applications on PDMS microfluidic systems:

  • Non reversible connecting PDMS-PDMS or PDMS-glass or PDMS-silicon
  • Creating of hydrophilic surfaces on a intrinsic hydrophobic PDMS-element

Applications for microfluidic systems:

  • Chemical research and analysis of liquid systems
  • Biological analysis of micro organisms
  • Clinical analysis


Polydimethylsiloxane, abbreviation PDMS, is a polymer out of the family of silicones and most particularly it is the one which has the most important applications. All silicones are characterized by the monomeric siloxane group Si - O, which periodically forms the polymer. The Silicon atom can be connected to various side groups. In the case of PDMS, this is a methyl group CH3. The properties of the polymer also can be influenced by various different terminating groups. Often this terminating group is Trimethylsiloxyl Si-SH3. The shortest molecule which is formed only from the two connected trimethylsiloxan-groups without any dimethylsiloxyl-monomere in between, is Hexamethyldisiloxane HMDSO, which is of particular relevance as a process gas for plasma polymerisation.

PDMS is almost inert and extremely resistant to oxidation. It is highly preferred as an electric isolator and is also used in biological analysis.

References to scientific sources where our plasma systems have been applied to treat microfluidic PDMS systems:

  • Olaf Dössel, Wolfgang C. Schlegel. “World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering September 7 - 12, 2009 Munich, Germany: Vol. 25/IX Neuroengineering, Neural Systems, Rehabilitation and Prosthetics (IFMBE Proceedings)”
  • Alain Carrac, Kash L. Mittal (Autor). Superhydrophobic Surfaces

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