This dissertation proposed the idea of “plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition on living substrates (PECVD on living substrates)” to bridge the gap between the thin film deposition technology and the biological and living substrates. This study focuses on the establishment of the knowledge and techniques necessary to perform “PECVD on living substrates” and contains three main aspects: development, characterization, and biological applications. First, a PECVD tool which can operate in ambient air and at low temperature was developed using a helium dielectric barrier discharge jet (DBD jet). It was demonstrated that various materials, such as polymeric, metallic, and composite films, can be readily synthesized through this technique. Second, the PMMA and copper films deposited using DBD jets were characterized. High-rate (22 nm/s), low-temperature (39 ºC) PMMA deposition was achieved and the film surface morphology can be tailored by altering the discharge power. Conductive copper films with an electrical resistivity lower than 1×10-7 ohm-m were obtained through hydrogen reduction. Both PMMA and copper films can be grown on temperature-sensitive substrates, such as plastics, pork skin, and even fingernail. The electrical, optical, and imaging characterization of the DBD jets was also conducted and several new findings were reported. Multiple short-duration current pulses instead of only one broad pulse per half voltage cycle were observed when a dielectric substrate was employed. Each short-duration current pulse is induced by a leading ionization wave followed by the formation of a plasma channel. Precursor addition further changed the temporal sequence of the pulses. An increase in the power led to a mode change from a diffuse DBD jet to a concentrated one. This mode change showed significant dependence on the precursor type, tube size, and electrode configuration. These findings regarding the discharge characteristics can thus facilitate the development of DBD-jet operation strategies to improve the deposition efficacy. Finally, this technique was used to grow PMMA films onto agar to demonstrate one of its potential biological applications: sterile bandage deposition. The DBD jet with the film depositing ability enabled the surface to be not only efficiently sanitized but also protected by a coating from being reached by bacteria.
- Staack, David Associate Professor