Long-lasting FR-4 surface hydrophilisation towards commercial PCB passive microfluidics

Nikolaos Vasilakis, Despina Moschou, Daniela Carta, Hywel Morgan, Themistoklis Prodromakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


Printed circuit boards (PCB) technologies are an attractive system for simple sensing and microfluidic systems. Controlling the surface properties of PCB material is an important part of this technology and to date there has been no study on long-term hydrophilisation stability of these materials. In this work, the effect of different oxygen plasma input power and treatment duration times on the wetting properties of FR-4 surfaces was investigated by sessile droplet contact angle measurements. Super and weakly hydrophilic behaviour was achieved and the retention time of these properties was studied, with the hydrophilic nature being retained for at least 26 days. To demonstrate the applicability of this treatment method, a commercially manufactured microfluidic structure made from a multilayer PCB (3-layer FR-4 stack) was exposed to oxygen plasma at the optimum conditions. The structures could be filled with deionised (DI) water under capillary flow unlike the virgin devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Surface Science
Early online date21 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


  • Hydrophilic
  • Hydrophilicity retention
  • Oxygen plasma
  • Passive microfluidics
  • PCB microfluidics
  • Surface modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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