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The results of atmospheric pressure
plasma treatments using diffuse coplanar surface barrier discharge (type of
surface dielectric barrier discharge) on chromium surfaces are reported. A
significant increase of surface wettability was observed after short plasma exposition.
A quantitative value of surface wettability, i.e. the surface free
energy, changed from 29 mJ/m2 to over 80 mJ/m2. In time,
a hydrophobic recovery of the plasma treated surfaces was observed. Careful
study by surface free energy measurements and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
was performed to be able explaining the effects of plasma treatment. Studied
samples were treated in air, oxygen and nitrogen plasma and aged in air and
vacuum. Main reasons for increased wettability and aging effect are surface
cleaning and transformations in chromium oxide. Additionally, generation of
surface nitrate groups was found on the chromium surface as a result of plasma
treatment in humid air.