Surface characterization of atomic oxygen beam-exposed polyimide films using contact angle measurements

K. Gotoh, M. Tagawa, N. Ohmae, H. Kinoshita, M. Tagawa

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Polyimide surfaces exposed to simulated low Earth orbit space environment, i.e., under hyperthermal atomic oxygen bombardment, were characterized by using atomic force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and contact angle measurements. The surface analytical results showed that the roughness and the O/C ratio at the atomic oxygen-exposed polyimide surface increased with increasing atomic oxygen fluence. The advancing and receding contact angles decreased with increasing O/C ratios at the polyimide surfaces. The Lifshitz-van der Waals component, the acid and base parameters of the surface free energy of polyimide films were calculated from the contact angles. The base parameter increased with increasing O/C ratio, whereas the acid parameter and the Lifshitz-van der Waals component did not show a remarkable change. These analytical results agree with the in situ XPS data showing the formation of surface functional groups due to atomic oxygen exposure. It was demonstrated in this study that the polyimide surface in a low Earth orbit space environment may become hydrophilic due to the bombardment by atomic oxygen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-220
Number of pages7
JournalColloid and Polymer Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 28 2001


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Atomic oxygen
  • Contact angle
  • Polyimide
  • Surface free energy
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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