PDMS is the abbreviation for polydimethylsiloxane which is a polymer based on silicone. PDMS are linear polymers that stay liquid up to high molar masses and in case of long-chain structures. This polymer is not only resistant to oxidation but also functions as electric isolator in micro- and polymer-electronics. When conventionally processed, PDMS has no adhesive properties, but when oxygenized with the help of low-pressure plasma technology, it becomes bondable with glass, silicones and other substrates. PDMS polymers are a perfect material to create molds with microscopic structures. Plasma treatments of PDMS are successful when a permanent bond between a surface and microfluidic channels in PDMS-material is needed.
PDMS polymers are extensively used in research laboratories and industrial environments due to their versatility and the relatively low costs. The polymer is inert, transparent and easily customizable and moldable. Pretreatments with plasma clean and modify PDMS substrates for further usage in different areas of application.
PDMS is the silicon-polymer with one of the most application possibilities which makes it interesting and useful both for industry and research. Especially when it comes to microscopic structures, i.e. microfluidic systems, in context with plasma technology, PDMS is often the first choice for rapid prototyping accompanying research. Treating PDMS with plasma has the advantage that the polymer is being microscopically cleaned and adhesion properties are being improved in the same working process.
When designing microfluidic systems, low pressure plasma applications on PDMS, predominantly the product Sylgard 184, are an important field. To name a few advantages, the process time is short which makes it suitable for rapid prototyping. The connections that is built between a PDMS polymer and a silicon-containing surface like glass is irreversible and therefore the microfluidic device obtains impermeable channels. Furthermore, complete hydrophilization of the PDMS und the substrate surface via plasma application is possible as well as creating a design with hydrophilic and hydrophobic areas. Microfluidic systems from PDMS are used in applied chemical research and chemical, biological or clinical analyses of (micro) organisms.
When bonding several layers of PDMS polymers with glass, a silicon-containing substrate, oxygen plasma is the application of choice since the bonding is of irreversible strength. Devices that are made from PDMS usually need to be bonded onto a glass surface in order to be usable. Technology of choice often is oxygen plasma with which a tight bond between glass and PDMS is created. Microfluidic canal systems for example are molded into PDMS-materials and subsequently placed on and plasma-bonded with a glass surface.
Thierry Plasma is a leader in plasma technology on a global level. Thierry’s plasma technology division offers different solutions to modify surfaces via plasma applications, including PDMS bonding and microfluidic systems. From start to finish, the optimal solution prior to buying or renting suitable plasma systems from Thierry Plasma is thoroughly developed in collaboration with each customer.
No matter if etching, activating, coating or cleaning is required, Thierry Plasma offers a variety of systems that are built from modular tools from manufacturing market leader Diener electronic. A major share of the tools, especially the systems using low-pressure-plasma, is customizable.