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A microfluidic atmospheric-pressure plasma reactor for water treatment

Patinglag, Laila; Sawtell, David; Iles, Alex; Melling, Louise M.; Shaw, Kirsty J.


Laila Patinglag

David Sawtell

Alex Iles

Louise M. Melling

Kirsty J. Shaw


A dielectric barrier discharge microfluidic plasma reactor, operated at atmospheric pressure, was studied for its potential to treat organic contaminants in water. Microfluidic technology represents a compelling approach for plasma-based water treatment due to inherent characteristics such as a large surface-area-to-volume ratio and flow control, in inexpensive and portable devices. The microfluidic device in this work incorporated a dielectric barrier discharge generated in a continuous gas flow stream of a two-phase annular flow regime in the microchannels of the device. Methylene blue in solution was used to investigate plasma induced degradation of dissolved organic compounds within the microfluidic device. The relative degradation rates of methylene blue were influenced by the residence time of the sample solution in the discharge zone, type of gas applied, channel depth and flow rate. Increasing the residence time inside the plasma region led to higher levels of degradation. Oxygen was found to be the most effective gas, with the spectra obtained using Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy indicating the most significant degradation. By reducing the channel depth from 100 to 50 µm, the best results were obtained, achieving a greater than 97% level of methylene blue degradation. The microfluidic system presented here demonstrates proof-of-concept that plasma technology can be utilised as an advanced oxidation process for water treatment, with the potential to eliminate water treatment consumables such as filters and disinfectants.


Patinglag, L., Sawtell, D., Iles, A., Melling, L. M., & Shaw, K. J. (2019). A microfluidic atmospheric-pressure plasma reactor for water treatment. Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing, 39(3), 561–575.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 4, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 20, 2019
Publication Date 2019-05
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing
Print ISSN 0272-4324
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 3
Pages 561–575
Keywords Atmospheric-plasma; Contamination; Dielectric barrier discharge; Microfluidic; Water treatment
Public URL
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Article (980 Kb)

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© The Author(s) 2019<br /> Open Access<br /> This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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