Plasma technologies for materials & surfaces

Plasma surface engineering embraces a large range of processes aimed to drastically change the surface properties of materials preserving the bulk ones. This includes for instance corrosion protective coatings, barrier layers for food packaging, surface hydrophobization/hydrophilization, enhanced surface dyebility/printability or adhesion. In particular plasma-assisted deposition can be used to produce films on a solid material by promoting chemical reactions at the plasma/substrate interface. Indeed, by using sacrificial layers/substrates free standing nano-films can be produced. The processes can be performed by using both low and atmospheric pressure plasmas in direct and remote approach, injecting the film precursors in gas, vapor and aerosol form.

Plasma reactors design

Low pressure plasma reactor design involves matching of sample/chamber size, gas flow rate/pumping speed, electrodes potential distribution and power sources. Furthermore, often heating/chilling of electrodes or substrates is necessary, as well as bias, to control surface ion bombardment. Technologies implemented by plasmas are: PECVD, remote plasma MOCVD, sputtering, etching, plasma MBE.

Atmospheric pressure dielectric barrier discharge reactors for surface treatment of materials need a smart design, assembly and optimization. Reactors design and electrode configurations are tailored to address the requirements of specific plasma processes (e.g., deposition of thin films from precursors in vapor or aerosol form) and, importantly, the shape and dimension of the substrate to be treated. Atmospheric pressure reactors include also plasma jets, i.e., remote plasma sources in which the plasma is allowed to exit from the region where it is generated and to propagate in the external environment towards the substrate to be treated.

Plasma Surface Engineering

Strategies differ depending on the addressed surface property. Typically both low and atmospheric pressure plasma processes can be carried out.

Barrier and protective coatings consists in inorganic film (SiOx or SiNx) commonly deposited from organosilicon fed plasmas.

The control of polymer adhesion properties and alike (dyebility) can be reached by grafting of polar groups (oxygen or nitrogen containing ones) in plasma fed with O2, N2 or H2O.

Hydrophobization can be achieved either by PECVD of fluorocarbon and organosilicon coatings or by grafting of F-contaning functionalities (e.g., CF4-fed plasma)

Plasma processing of 3D materials and powders

Plasma treatment of complex three-dimensional (3D) porous materials (membranes, scaffold, fabrics, etc.) for fine tuning of the surface chemistry of the outer and inner regions of the substrates, while leaving the porous architecture intact. The activity includes also the plasma surface functionalization of powders and granules for several applications in the field of catalysis, absorbing materials, biomaterials, etc..


Low pressure and atmospheric pressure PECVD, plasma grafting of functional groups and plasma sputtering of metal and metal/oxide carried out both in direct and remote approach. Reactors design and electrode configurations are fitted to the specific shape and dimension of the substrates to be treated.

Facilities & Labs

Plasma technology lab @URT Bari


Space ship @URT Bari


Atmospheric pressure parallel plate DBD @URT Bari




CNR Director of Research



CNR Researcher

Antonella MilellaAntonella


Associate Researcher



Associate Professor



CNR Researcher

Francesco FracassiFrancesco


Associate Professor



CNR Researcher


  1. Fanelli, F , Mastrangelo, A.M, Fracassi, F., Aerosol-assisted atmospheric cold plasma deposition and characterization of superhydrophobic organic-inorganic nanocomposite thin films,  Langmuir Volume 30, Issue 3, 28 January 2014, Pages 857-865, Doi: 10.1021/la404755n
  2. Rosa Di Mundo, Riccardo d’Agostino, and Fabio Palumbo, Long-Lasting Antifog Plasma Modification of Transparent Plastics,  ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2014, 6 (19), pp 17059–17066 DOI: 10.1021/am504668s
  3. Ilaria Trizio, Eloisa Sardella, Edda Francioso, Giorgio Dilecce, Vito Rizzi, Pinalysa Cosma, Michael Schmidtd, Mareike Hänsch, Thomas von Woedtke, Pietro Favia, Roberto Gristina, Investigation of air-DBD effects on biological liquids for in vitro studies on eukaryotic cells, Clinical Plasma Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 2, December 2015, Pages 62–71, DOI: 10.1016/j.cpme.2015.09.003

Latest News

Disordered serendipity: a glassy path to discovery

A workshop in honour of Giorgio Parisi’s 70th birthday

September 19-21, 2018 - Roma

Sapienza University

With the occasion of celebrating Giorgio Parisi 70th birthday, the conference "Disordered serendipity: a glassy path to discovery" brings to Rome many among the world-leading experts in the field of complex systems. In order to properly represent the many fields of research where Giorgio Parisi gave a relevant contribution in his studies of disordered systems, the conference covers a broad spectrum of topics: from  fundamental and rigorous analysis of the statistical mechanics of disorder systems to applications in biology and computer science. These subjects are deeply interconnected since they are characterized by the presence of glassy behavior.

Il prof. Giorgio Parisi eletto presidente dell'Accademia dei Lincei


La più antica accademia del mondo ha un nuovo Presidente

Roma, 22 Giugno 2018

Siamo lieti di annunciare che il prof Giorgio Parisi, fisico della Università La Sapienza di Roma e Associato Cnr Nanotec, è il nuovo Presidente dell'Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. A lui le nostre più vive congratulazioni e gli auguri di buon lavoro.


Costituzione del nuovo Ispc-Cnr

IV incontro - nuovo Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale - CNR

Lecce, 20 aprile 2018

Aula Rita Levi Montalcini - ore 11:00

CNR NANOTEC c/o Campus Ecotekne

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