The radio frequency (RF) argon plasma induced surface modi. cation of paper revealed novel surface characteristics and substantially changed surface topography. It was found that RF-argon glow discharge affects surface properties resulting in photo-degradation and chain-scission mechanism on paper network structure. High-power and extended treatment time caused increasing elemental carbon, while decreasing the oxygen concentration on paper surface. However, increased hydroxyls and the creation of new carbonyl functionalities were verified by trifluoroacetoanhydride and pentafluorophenylhydrazine in vapor-phase derivatization reactions.