Plasma Catalytic Synthesis of Ammonia Using Functionalized-Carbon Coatings in an Atmospheric-Pressure Non-equilibrium Discharge

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Journal Article
Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing, 2016, 36 (4), pp. 917 - 940
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© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York. We investigate the synthesis of ammonia in a non-equilibrium atmospheric-pressure plasma using functionalized-nanodiamond and diamond-like-carbon coatings on α-Al 2 O 3 spheres as catalysts. Oxygenated nanodiamonds were found to increase the production yield of ammonia, while hydrogenated nanodiamonds decreased the yield. Neither type of nanodiamond affected the plasma properties significantly. Using diffuse-reflectance FT-IR and XPS, the role of different functional groups on the catalyst surface was investigated. Evidence is presented that the carbonyl group is associated with an efficient surface adsorption and desorption of hydrogen in ammonia synthesis on the surface of the nanodiamonds, and an increased production of ammonia. Conformal diamond-like-carbon coatings, deposited by plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition, led to a plasma with a higher electron density, and increased the production of ammonia.
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