The PTFE was modified into hydrophilic with 1/100 of the shots number required to obtain the same contact angle with water by the laser irradiation alone, when irradiating an ArF excimer laser on the sample surface at the moment of applying a 6 kV to the water placed on the PTFE surface to decrease the contact angle with water.
A plasma treatment method is widely used for plastic surface modification, but the hydrophilic property generated by this method fades away soon. On the other hand, we have previously reported that the ArF excimer laser light was applied on a sample surface in the presence of water to substitute hydrophilic groups, which was modified to have a long–lasting hydrophilic property. This method, however, needed 3000 to 10000 shots of the laser irradiation, and it is less economical compared with the plasma processing that requires only one–minute irradiation. There is an electro–wetting method, in which the contact angle with water decreases temporarily when a high voltage is applied between the water and the sample, but the contact angle is restored to its original position when stopping the voltage application.
Thus, we demonstrated the surface modification of PTFE maintaining the hydrophilic property for a long period with only 100 shots, by irradiating the ArF excimer laser on the sample at the moment when the wettability became high by the electro–wetting method. Water was placed in the gap between the silica glass and the PTFE to create a thin liquid layer with capillary phenomenon. A high voltage (6 kV) of direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) was applied on the gap, and the ArF excimer laser was vertically irradiated on the sample surface. The water was photo–dissociated to produce H and OH. At the same time, the C—F bond of the PTFE was also photo–dissociated, and the F atom bonded to the H atom to produce HF. The OH group united with the dangling bond of C, which resulted in modifying the PTFE surface to be hydrophilic.
To evaluate the wettability of the modified sample, the contact angle with water was measured. Improving the contact angle with water from 110 degrees for the untreated sample to 50 degrees for the treated sample had needed 10000 shots at the laser fluence of 5 mJ/cm2. By combined high voltage application and ArF excimer laser irradiation treatments, however, the 50–degree contact angle was yielded with 500 shots, 1/20 of 10000, when applying the DC of 6 kV, and with 100 shots only, 1/100 of 10000, when applying the AC of 6 kV. Moreover, the modified sample was observed for a change in contact angle with passage of time. The contact angle was 60 degrees after applying the high voltage, and 110 degrees when stopped. On the other hand, the sample modified by combined the high voltage application and ArF excimer laser irradiation maintained the 50–degree contact angle for one month after stopping the voltage application.