ACS Eng Au. 2022 Dec 21;2(6):535-546. doi: 10.1021/acsengineeringau.2c00026. Epub 2022 Aug 5.
Plasma-surface coupling has emerged as a promising approach to perform chemical transformations under mild conditions that are otherwise difficult or impossible thermally. However, a few examples of inexpensive and accessible in situ/operando techniques exist for observing plasma-solid interactions, which has prevented a thorough understanding of underlying surface mechanisms. Here, we provide a simple and adaptable design for a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma cell capable of interfacing with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), optical emission spectroscopy (OES), and mass spectrometry (MS) to simultaneously characterize the surface, the plasma phase, and the gas phase, respectively. The system was demonstrated using two example applications: (1) plasma oxidation of primary amine functionalized SBA-15 and (2) catalytic low temperature nitrogen oxidation. The results from application (1) provided direct evidence of a 1% O2/He plasma interacting with the aminosilica surface by selective oxidation of the amino groups to nitro groups without altering the alkyl tether. Application (2) was used to detect the evolution of NOX species bound to both platinum and silica surfaces under plasma stimulation. Together, the experimental results showcase the breadth of possible applications for this device and confirm its potential as an essential tool for conducting research on plasma-surface coupling.