Plasma technology for tip cleaning

IonPlasma cleaning action in and around a pipette tip

The term plasma was first adopted by Nobel Prize winning chemist Irving Langmuir in 1927 to describe the properties of gases ionized by high voltage to form free electrons and positive ions in a neutral background gas. Unlike solids, liquids or gases, plasma is electrically conductive and strongly affected by electromagnetic fields. Therefore, plasma is often referred to as the fourth state of matter.

Over 99% of all matter in the known universe is in the form of plasma. Lightning and flames are the only two naturally occurring forms on Earth. Over the past thirty years, developments in dielectric materials enabled the generation of atmospheric pressure plasmas that form in the absence of inert gases or a vacuum, which facilitated the advances of plasma technology for many different industries.

How Does It Work?

TipCharger cleans and decontaminates tips

Artist’s drawing of plasma cleaning action.

Our IonPlasma methods employ electrically generated atmospheric pressure plasma to saturate room air with energy, making it a highly reactive cleaning agent that oxidizes anything organic on contact. Contamination is ionized to CO2, H2O and other gases, then filtered and vented along with the post plasma gas.

IonPlasma is fundamentally just a process to transfer one form of energy, electricity, into another, the fourth state of matter or plasma. The energy in plasma “air” attacks organic molecules and triggers a near instantaneous oxidation.

Plasma is generated by electron streamers that fire off the surface of a dielectric barrier when the right frequency and power levels are achieved. The streamers ionize the air and any water vapor in the air. The main reactive products in the ionized gases are ozone, high energy oxygen, singlet oxygen and hydroxyl ions. These ionic specie, combined with the dense cloud of electrons in the streamers provide the energy to trigger rapid ionization of organic molecules and the conversion of water and other solvents that may be present in samples from a liquid to a gas state.

The rapid ionization and liquid-to-gas conversion clean and decontaminate pipette tips or microplates for immediate re-use.

IonPlasma in Action

A Wide Range of Industrial Applications

Plasma surface treatment has been widely used in the automotive, aerospace and electronics industries for ultra-fine surface cleaning. For life sciences, our TipCharger system utilizes the patented IonPlasmaTechnology to instantly break down any contaminants on the surfaces of pipette tips.

Download Introduction to Plasma Technology application note.