6. August 2012   4:53 am
Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Belmont, CA

Low pressure plasma is a controlled method for modifying the surfaces of materials. Our core competency is in modifying polymers. We’ve modified almost every type of polymer from silicones to fluoropolymers. These products range in size from nano-powders to 5 foot wide webs and membranes. Our company has been modifying life science materials for over 30 years. These include drug delivery platforms, fluidic devices, assay tools, ophthalmic Devices, implantable engineering polymers, stents, leads and their delivery devices.

The most practiced technology is activation (or functionalization) for subsequent adhesion attachment. In a functionalization process, the plasma species energy is used to break surface layer molecular bonds and leads to an altered surface chemistry. The plasma chemistry (and the substrate) drives the resulting functional groups.

Our laboratory includes 100s of different chemistries derived from gases and vapors from liquids. We’ve conducted sublimation work as well. The technology routinely is used for introducing chemistries that traditionally are conducted via wet chemistry. The technology offers tremendous controls and a short process cycle (< 15 minutes).

For the life sciences, typical functionalizations include:
• Hydroxyl
• Carboxylic
• Carbonyl
• Amine
• Vinyl
• Glycidyl
• Thiol

These groups can be closely coupled to a surface or distanced by chains.

Customers request these groups for attachment to:

• Amino acids, peptide attachment
• Coatings to resist biofilm attachment, coagulation
• Antimicrobials
• Biomolecular immobilizations
• Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
• Hyaluronic acid
• Polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA)
• Surfactant coatings
• Hydrogels

We also practice thin film depositions (all organic). This process is called Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD).

Typical coatings are around 40 – 4000 Angstrom thick. These coatings are dry. Coatings include:

• Polystyrene, Polyethylene
• Fluoropolymer, fluoroacrylates
• Siloxane (also via Openair)
• PEGylated (Tetraglyme)
• Aminated
• Polyacrylate
• Hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA)
• Ethylene Oxide

Customers request these coatings for:
• Interfaces (or tie layers)
• Hydrophobicity
• Oleophobicity
• Lubricity/decreased COF (dry)
• Biocompatibility
• Functionalization
• Chemical resistance
to name a few.

Primarily we modify devices and this does include combination devices. As polymers are being used more and more for target therapies, plasma has become a viable means for modifying surfaces to change release capabilities or modify other surface properties.

The technology is versatile. Controlled. Inexpensive. There is no waste. It is environmentally and workplace safe.

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