Ozone is produced efficiently in arrays of low-temperature, linear microplasmas having a trapezoidal or parabolic cross-sectional profile and generated within nanoporous alumina (Al2O3) microchannels. Fabricated from aluminum foil by wet chemical processing, micropowder ablation, and one photolithographic step, arrays of microchannel plasma devices 3 cm in length and 250 μm in width at the aperture of the channel produce spatially uniform glow discharges in O2 feedstock gas at a pressure of 1 atm and flow rates of 0.25-2.5 standard litres per minute. Several device and array structures, incorporating embedded electrodes and Al/Al2O3 or glass channels, have been fabricated and tested extensively. A design based solely on microchannels fabricated in nanoporous alumina, flanked by Al electrodes buried in the channel wall, is found to be superior in performance to other materials and geometries. Altering the electric field profile inside the microchannels (by means of the electrode geometry) is found to have a significant impact on the reactor efficiency. Ozone output is observed to scale linearly with the number of microchannels in the array and the feedstock gas flow rate. Efficiencies and O3 concentrations surpassing 85 g kWh-1 and 17 g m-3, respectively, have been measured, and arrays as large as 120 microchannels have been realized to date. The results presented here suggest a new approach to plasma-chemical reactors, one in which 'massively parallel' processing of one or more gases in non-streamer (glow) discharges efficiently produces products of commercial value in thousands of micropores or microchannels fabricated in recyclable and inexpensive materials. Reductions of an order of magnitude in the weight and volume of microplasma-based O3 reactors, relative to conventional dielectric barrier discharge technology, appear to be feasible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films