Using Openair-Plasma®, metals such as aluminum can be completely cleaned of unwanted hydrocarbons, such as rolling oils, through the evaporation of volatile components and oxidation to carbon dioxide and water.
The probe tip was modified using nonpolar hydrocarbon compounds and the measurement was carried out with water as the imaging medium. This ensured detection of even the smallest impurities by their interactions with the probe tip.
At the same time, the surface tension of the material can be selectively increased by plasma activation. The increase in hydrophilicity is measurable; the adhesion of coatings and finishes is greatly improved.
Chemically modified atomic force microscopy:
Left: Adhesion distribution on aluminum without plasma treatment. Interaction with the probe tip: the surface is covered with oily impurities.
Right: Homogeneous adhesion distribution on aluminum after plasma treatment (hydrophilic). No interaction with the probe tip: the surface is free from oily impurities.