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Plasma Processing of Materials - Laboratory

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The Laboratory for Plasma Processing of Materials in the Energy Research Facility features an array of state-of-the-art tools for plasma-based etching, synthesis or modification of materials. The tool set available in the laboratory includes plasma reactors, instruments that characterize the plasma or the surfaces of plasma-treated materials, and measurement tools that evaluate the crucial variables that determine the ultimate usefulness of the materials and structures thus produced. The available plasma reactors include devices for producing either highly ionized plasmas (fraction of charged particles in the percentage range) or reactors where the charged particle density is negligible but reactive atoms or molecular radicals formed in a remote plasma chamber interact with the material to be modified. Electron beam generated plasma characterized by a very low plasma potential and enabling processing at very low particle energies is being pursued for atomic scale processing. The laboratory has also focused on non-equilibrium plasma produced by various devices for treatment of materials and chemical processing at atmospheric pressure, and the researchers developed novel approaches for the study of LTP-surface interactions under these conditions. For these a significant number of important measurement tools, many of which can be applied in real time during actual plasma processing of materials, is available.

The images shown below provide views of researchers in the plasma processing laboratory at work and various equipment used in the laboratory.  The most recent images are shown near the top (2018), whereas the images near the bottom are historical.   For a larger copy of an image, right click on the image, then press "view image".


Dr. Shiqiang Zhang working with an atmospheric pressure plasma jet
Dr. Shiqiang Zhang working with an atmospheric pressure plasma jet located inside the controlled environment of a vacuum chamber. Real-time in-situ surface characterization of materials being treated by atmospheric pressure plasma jet can be performed, along with various type of characterizations of the effluent.
Fourier transform infrared spectrometer
Fourier transform infrared spectrometer used for gas phase and surface characterization of plasma-catalyst processes for sustainable environmentally acceptable processes using atmospheric pressure plasma devices.
View of vacuum cluster
View of vacuum cluster showing multi-technique surface analysis system at left and various plasma processing chambers behind and at right. Various custom-built UHV-compatible chambers are used for plasma processing and incorporate various capabilities, including integrated real-time plasma/gas phase and surface diagnostics. They are connected via UHV transfer with a sample preparation chamber and a multi-technique surface analysis system.
Dr. Xi Li working on a multi-chamber vacuum system
Dr. Xi Li is working on a multi-chamber vacuum system used for plasma processing of materials. A ultra-high vacuum sample transfer system connects various plasma devices with a multi-technique surface analysis system and with each other.
Li Ling performing a plasma process in an inductively coupled plasma processing tool
This image shows graduate student Li Ling performing a plasma process in an inductively coupled plasma processing tool featuring numerous in-situ diagnostic techniques.
Xuefeng Hua and Masanaga Fukaswa performing surface analysis of plasma-processed material
Graduate student Xuefeng Hua and visitor Masanaga Fukaswa (SONY Corp.) perform surface analysis of plasma-processed material.

  Students discussing research results
Graduate student Sebastian Engelmann (PhD, 2008) discusses research results that he has obtained on an NSF-supported project (DMR-0406120) with undergraduate students Brian Smith and Michael Figueroa -- all are students of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park. Brian Smith and Michael Figuero began participating in the NSF-funded research in 2005 and plan to actively contribute to the research on this topic during the final two years of their undergraduate program.


For further information, please contact Dr. Gottlieb Oehrlein.