Active-screen plasma surface multi-functionalisation of biopolymers and carbon-based materials – an overview

Behnam Dashtbozorg, Xiao Tao*, Hanshan Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Biopolymer and carbon-based materials have found widespread applications, spanning across different industries, including the medical, energy storage, wind energy, and aerospace sectors. The increasing popularity of both types of materials in industry has created a driving force for the enhancement of their properties to meet the current and future requirements. Active-screen plasma (ASP) has attracted much attention as a versatile and powerful surface engineering solution to meet these growing demands, owing to its treatment uniformity, remote plasma nature, capability for treating both electrically conductive and insulating materials, ability to functionalise surfaces, and the unique combined function of surface activation and deposition (CFAD). Through the introduction of moieties, modification of chemical bonding, change of morphology, and improvement in wettability on the treated surfaces, recent studies have demonstrated the ability for ASP treatments to enhance the biocompatibility of biopolymers. Moreover, ASP has also been tested (and ‘bespoke’ ASP techniques developed) for advanced carbon-based materials for tailored applications with promising property/performance enhancements, including a) enhanced wettability and interfacial shear strength for carbon fibres in polymer matrix composites, b) improved catalyst layer growth on carbon paper, c) improved electrical conductivity and capacitive performance for carbon nanofibers, and d) enhanced electric and electrochemical properties for graphene oxide.

This review evaluates the recent achievements and findings of ASP treatments performed on biopolymers and carbon-based materials from the Surface Engineering group in the University of Birmingham. The current status of ASP surface multi-functionalisation is communicated, along with the future research focus for materials with poor electrical conductivity and/or vulnerability to degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128188
Number of pages14
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Early online date2 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from Smart Factory Hub (European Structural and Investment Funds 06R1702266), SMARTFAN (Horizon 2020 EC760779) and Carbo4Power (Horizon Europe EC953192) projects.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Active-screen plasma
  • Biopolymers
  • Carbon fibre
  • Carbon nanofibre
  • Functionalisation
  • Graphene oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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