There are currently two main lines of research in the field of plasma catalysis: Materials and activity research.
Plasma catalysis material research
This topic focuses on the implementation of a catalyst in plasma air cleaning technology.
In order to combine plasma technology with catalysis, an appropriate way to bring the catalyst inside the plasma reactor needs to be found, with respect to certain properties like specific surface area, porosity, crystal structure, conductivity, and so on.
To obtain this combined technology, we have chosen to apply a catalytic coating on the collector electrode of the plasma reactor. This can be done by means of dip or spin coating, without losing sight of several important properties, including excellent adhesion on the substrate, good conductivity and an optimal amount of deposited material.
Plasma catalysis activity research
In this topic, we study the effect of the applied catalytic coating on the plasma (and vice versa), with the intention to determine a set of working conditions wherein plasma catalysis can remove pollutants from an indoor air environment. This set of working conditions consists of the following parameters: polarity, voltage and relative humidity.
We use a modular and fully automated test set-up that enables us to mix the pollutant of interest with clean air, of which a part can be lead towards a humidifier to control the relative humidity in the system. The pollutants under study currently are: acetaldehyde, ethylene, nitric oxides and soot (particulate matter).
We currently have two corona discharge plasma reactors available: a wire-to-cylinder and a multi wire-to-plate plasma reactor, on which we perform our studies.
For detection, we rely on FTIR spectroscopy, sensors, chemiluminescence (CLD) and photoionisation (PID) detectors. The combination of these methods allows for a real-time and high quality image of pollutant, by-products and end-products in the gas phase.