Etching in the oxygen plasma is an excellent way of removing hydrocarbons. This effect is used in plasma cleaning to remove polymer surface contaminations, for example waxes, silicones, oils and greases.
Entire polymer plastic layers can be removed without any residues. For the analysis of a composite material, for example, the entire polymer component can be removed and the purely inorganic component can be exposed. In material testing, this process is used to examine the individual components. This process is referred to as “ashing”.). The major application of ashing, however, is the residue-free removal of photoresist layers following a photolithography process in micro-electronics. A plasma asher is a low-pressure plasma system designed or equipped for ashing processes.