Selective Plasma Etching of Polymer-Metal Mesh Foil in Large-Area Hydrogen Atmospheric Pressure Plasma
|Year of publication
|Article in Periodical
|Magazine / Source
|MU Faculty or unit
|hydrogen plasma; atmospheric pressure plasma; selective etching; polymer-metal mesh composite foil; roll-to-roll processing
|We present a novel method of surface processing of complex polymer-metal composite substrates. Atmospheric-pressure plasma etching in pure H-2, N-2, H-2/N-2 and air plasmas was used to fabricate flexible transparent composite poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)-based polymer film/Ag-coated Cu metal wire mesh substrates with conductive connection sites by the selective removal of the thin (similar to 10-100 nm) surface PMMA layer. To mimic large-area roll-to-roll processing, we used an advanced alumina-based concavely curved electrode generating a thin and high-power density cold plasma layer by the diffuse coplanar surface barrier discharge. A short 1 s exposure to pure hydrogen plasma, led to successful highly-selective etching of the surface PMMA film without any destruction of the Ag-coated Cu metal wires embedded in the PMMA polymer. On the other hand, the use of ambient air, pure nitrogen and H-2/N-2 plasmas resulted in undesired degradation both of the polymer and the metal wires surfaces. Since it was found that the etching efficiency strongly depends on the process parameters, such as treatment time and the distance from the electrode surface, we studied the effect and performance of these parameters.