Microwave plasma generation, particularly in the 2.45 GHz ISM band, enables a variety of new applications in medicine, biology, semiconductor industry and industrial surface engineering. The field of low-pressure plasma processing, which is widely used in industry, is permanently demanding for refinements and improvements in terms of quality, efficiency and cost. Additionally, the new emerging field of atmospheric microplasmas is gaining more and more attention due to its high potential in creating new plasma applications as well as the chance to transfer low-pressure plasma applications to much more cost-effective atmospheric processes.
In both fields, application of microwave frequencies is currently limited. The magnetron microwave sources used today are only available at power levels above 300 W, and shows problems to transmit the microwave energy from generator to plasma. Thus, there is a need for integrated, solid-state based systems consisting of generator and electrodes, which are reliable and can be easily integrated into applications. The potential of high-density atmospheric microwave plasmas can only be harnessed if small and integrated plasma sources become available. The FBH develops customized solutions in this field.
- Source design - concepts of plasma sources and the corresponding microwave power oscillators (e.g., DFG project with University of Bochum on ICP plasma source) .
- Applications for atmospheric and low-pressure plasma sources, e.g., for activation
Many surface engineering methods like coating, printing or glueing need a surface activation for improved wettability. This can be accomplished in a cost-efficient way at atmospheric pressure by using plasma sources.