Résumé : The in-depth oxygen diffusion into a low density polyethylene film is performed in the post-discharge of an atmospheric plasma torch, supplied in argon as carrier gas and with or without oxygen as reactive gas. The chemical and structural properties of the polymer surface and bulk are studied in terms of plasma parameters (treatment time, power, and reactive gas flow rate). A good correlation between XPS and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analyses is demonstrated. The penetration depth of oxygen into the bulk of the polymer is investigated by angle resolved-XPS and time-of-flight SIMS. It is shown that, depending on the plasma conditions, oxygen could penetrate up to 20-40 nm into the low density polyethylene during the atmospheric plasma treatment. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.