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Micromachines 2018, 9(8), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9080415

Roughness Evolution and Charging in Plasma-Based Surface Engineering of Polymeric Substrates: The Effects of Ion Reflection and Secondary Electron Emission

1
Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Agia Paraskevi 15310, Greece
2
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Ioannina, Ioannina 45110, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 19 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasma-Based Surface Engineering)
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Abstract

The interaction of plasma with polymeric substrates generates both roughness and charging on the surface of the substrates. This work, toward the comprehension and, finally, the control of plasma-induced surface roughness, delves into the intertwined effects of surface charging, ion reflection, and secondary electron-electron emission (SEEE) on roughness evolution during plasma etching of polymeric substrates. For this purpose, a modeling framework consisting of a surface charging module, a surface etching model, and a profile evolution module is utilized. The case study is etching of a poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) substrate by argon plasma. Starting from an initial surface profile with microscale roughness, the results show that the surface charging contributes to a faster elimination of the roughness compared to the case without charging, especially when ion reflection is taken into account. Ion reflection sustains roughness; without ion reflection, roughness is eliminated. Either with or without ion reflection, the effect of SEEE on the evolution of the rms roughness over etching time is marginal. The mutual interaction of the roughness and the charging potential is revealed through the correlation of the charging potential with a parameter combining rms roughness and skewness of the surface profile. A practical implication of the current study is that the elimination or the reduction of surface charging will result in greater surface roughness of polymeric, and generally dielectric, substrates. View Full-Text
Keywords: roughness; plasma etching; surface charging; ion reflection; secondary electron emission; simulation; modeling roughness; plasma etching; surface charging; ion reflection; secondary electron emission; simulation; modeling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Memos, G.; Lidorikis, E.; Kokkoris, G. Roughness Evolution and Charging in Plasma-Based Surface Engineering of Polymeric Substrates: The Effects of Ion Reflection and Secondary Electron Emission. Micromachines 2018, 9, 415.

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