I really want a plasma cleaner, for cleaning coverslips and activating glass for PDMS bonding, but they cost thousands of dollars. I thought that was a lot of money for a glorified microwave. So I made my own.
Drill a few holes in glass:
Make a PDMS seal (thanks Kate):
Glue the chamber:
We’re ready to go!
Fill the chamber with argon, evacuate it, turn on the microwave oven, and … voila! … a plasma:
Below are slides before and after (right) plasma treatment. You can see the contact angle of water is dramatically reduced.
Well, not really. I found that the plasma really only stays lit with argon. When I flow air in, it extinguishes, but also burns some of the rubber hoses. That adds more dirt to my slides than I want.
Conclusion: don’t do this at home. :)
(Well, that might be a little harsh. It does work well to bond PDMS to glass. And I’ll try a longer etch sometime to see if it will ever clean the coverslips.)