Observation and rationalization of nitrogen oxidation enabled only by coupled plasma and catalysts

TitleObservation and rationalization of nitrogen oxidation enabled only by coupled plasma and catalysts
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsH.Y. Ma, R.K. Sharma, S. Welzel, M.C.M van de Sanden, M.N. Tsampas, W. Schneider
JournalNature Communications
Date Published2022/01/20

Heterogeneous catalysts coupled with non-thermal plasmas (NTP) are known to achieve reaction yields that exceed the contributions of the individual components. Rationalization of the enhancing potential of catalysts, however, remains challenging because the background contributions from NTP or catalysts are often non-negligible. Here, we first demonstrate platinum (Pt)-catalyzed nitrogen (N2) oxidation in a radio frequency plasma afterglow at conditions at which neither catalyst nor plasma alone produces significant concentrations of nitric oxide (NO). We then develop reactor models based on reduced NTP- and surface-microkinetic mechanisms to identify the features of each that lead to the synergy between NTP and Pt. At experimental conditions, NTP and thermal catalytic NO production are suppressed by radical reactions and high N2 dissociation barrier, respectively. Pt catalyzes NTP-generated radicals and vibrationally excited molecules to produce NO. The model construction further illustrates that the optimization of productivity and energy efficiency involves tuning of plasma species, catalysts properties, and the reactor configurations to couple plasma and catalysts. These results provide unambiguous evidence of synergism between plasma and catalyst, the origins of that synergy for N2 oxidation, and a modeling approach to guide material selection and system optimization.





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Alternate TitleNat. Commun.

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