Summary: This paper aims to discuss and review developments in plasma surface modification techniques which have been seen over the past few years, with particular emphasis on low energy or soft plasma assisted surface polymerisation processes. While early work focussed mainly on protective coatings and surface activation, the advancements in microtechnology in the 1980s followed by those in nanotechnology in the 1990s and 2000s have resulted in new challenges for surface processing and surface modification processes. The latest advancements in plasma polymer chemistry have shown tremendous potential for the synthesis of reasonably well defined molecular structures with a high retention of functional groups. Some of the latest achievements and newest insights into the behaviour of such deposits in a liquid environment will be discussed, with a particular focus on bio-nanotechnological applications. Utilising novel approaches in surface and interface analysis, it will be shown that plasma polymers can be tailored to have considerable elasticity with reversible swelling characteristics, offering a three-dimensional interface for biomolecular immobilisation procedures in a liquid environment.
SPR data suggesting the elastic and reproducible swelling and shrinking of pp-allylamine under a humid nitrogen environment.