C:H:O plasma polymer films (PPFs) were deposited by means of plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition using the non-toxic, biodegradable organic compound dimethyl carbonate (DMC) at various plasma powers and pressures in order to control the degradation properties related to the carbonate ester group. Coating properties using pure DMC monomer vapours were compared to co-polymerized films from gaseous mixtures of DMC with either ethylene (C2
) or carbon dioxide (CO2
) affecting deposition rate and chemical composition. C:H:O film properties were found to depend primarily on the amount of oxygen in the plasma. To investigate the PPF stability during aging, changes in the composition and properties were studied during their storage both in air and in distilled water over extended periods up to 5 months. It was shown that aging of the films is mostly due to oxidation of the plasma polymer matrix yielding slow degradation and decomposition. The aging processes and their rate are dependent on the intrinsic amount of oxygen in the as-prepared C:H:O films which in turn depends on the experimental conditions and the working gas mixture. Adjustable film properties were mainly attained using a pure DMC plasma considering both gas phase and surface processes. It is thus possible to prepare C:H:O PPFs with controllable degradability both in air and in water.
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