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J Phys Chem B. 2014 Apr 17;118(15):4201-11. doi: 10.1021/jp411244x. Epub 2014 Apr 8.

Combining mass spectrometry diagnostic and density functional theory calculations for a better understanding of the plasma polymerization of ethyl lactate.

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Chimie des Interactions Plasma-Surface, Center of Innovation and Research in Materials & Polymers (CIRMAP), Université de Mons - UMONS , Place du Parc 23, B-7000 Mons, Belgium.


The focus of this work is on the growth mechanism of ethyl lactate-based plasma polymer film (ELPPF) that could be used as barrier coatings. In such an application, the ester density of the plasma polymer has to be controlled to tune the degradation rate of the material. Our strategy consists of correlating the plasma chemistry evaluated by RGA mass spectrometry and understanding, via DFT calculations, the chemistry of the synthesized thin films. The theoretical calculations helped us to understand the plasma chemistry in plasma ON and OFF conditions. From these data it is unambiguously shown that the signal m/z 75 can directly be correlated with the precursor density in the plasma phase. The combination of XPS and chemical derivatization experiments reveal that the ester content in the ELPFF can be tailored from 2 to 18 at. % by decreasing the RF power, which is perfectly correlated with the evolution of the plasma chemistry. Our results also highlight that the ELPPF chemistry, especially the ester content, is affected by the plasma mode of operation (continuous or pulsed discharge, at similar injected mean power) for similar ester content in the plasma. This could be related to different energy conditions at the interface of the growing films that could affect the sticking coefficient of the ester-bearing fragments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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