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Ultraviolet light treatment of thin high-density polyethylene films monitored with a quartz crystal microbalance

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Abstract

Ultraviolet (UV) treatment is an effective method for modification of the surface properties of polymeric materials. In this study, the effects of the ozone-generating UV light treatment of thin high-density polyethylene (HDPE) films were monitored with the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) technique both in the presence of ozone and without it. The films were further characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, optical microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. We found that the ozone not only modified the surface properties of the HDPE films but also etched away the polymer layer. An average etching rate of 0.48 nm/min was determined. UV light exposure of the polymer film in an argon atmosphere resulted only in minor degradation of the films; the presence of ozone was needed to cause the destruction and loss of material. The QCM technique was a straightforward method for the monitoring of the kinetics of the ablation induced by the UV–ozone treatment process. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 92: 2833–2839, 2004

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