Award

Prof. Uwe Czarnetzki awarded International Fellow of the Japan Society of Applied Physics

Prof. Uwe Czarnetzki from project A1/A2 of the CRC 1316 was awarded international fellow of the Japan Society of Applied Physics. The award ceremony will be held September 18th, 2019 during the Japan Society of Applied Physics autumn meeting. During the ceremony, the honored fellows are invited to present their scientific contribution. The status of international fellows of the Japan Society of Applied Physics is an honor awarded to scientists who support the progress of the Japan Society of Applied Physics in recognition of their achievements. Congratulations!

Project A7 - Catalysis

Catalytic carbon monoxide oxidation over potassium-doped manganese dioxide nanoparticles synthesized by spray drying

One of the major objectives of the CRC 1316 is the investigation and understanding of the complex interactions between a non-thermal plasma and heterogeneous catalysts. The first results of project A7 describing the thermocatalytic oxidation of CO over MnO2 catalysts were recently published in Emission Control Science and Technology. Particularly, the effect of the incorporated alkali ions on K+ and Na+ on the structural properties and the catalytic performance was emphasized to derive structure-activity correlations.

The MnO2 catalysts were synthesized by a semi-continuous spray drying procedure based on the comproportionation reaction of Mn(NO3)2 and KMnO4. Solutions of both compounds were continuously mixed in a micromixer and the emerging suspension was rapidly quenched by spray drying to inhibit further particle growth. In order to exchange the K+ ions by Na+ ions, NaMnO4 was used instead of KMnO4 during the synthesis. After washing and drying of the catalysts a fine brown powder was obtained, which was used as prepared or calcined at 450°C or 500°C for 4 h in synthetic air.

As shown by the XPS results and TPO profiles Mn (IV) is the predominant oxidation state of all samples prior to calcination proving that all catalysts consist of MnO2. However, the XRD patterns of the uncalcined catalysts reveal an X-ray amorphous structure preventing a more in-depth phase identification. After calcination the phase structure strongly depends on the type and amount of the incorporated alkali ion. The presence of K+ promotes the formation of crystalline alpha-MnO2 and stabilizes its tunnel structure up to temperatures of 500°C. Lower amounts of K+ or the exchange with Na+ lead to less crystalline phases after calcination at 450°C and to the formation of crystalline alpha-Mn2O3 after calcination at 500°C.

The catalytic CO oxidation was performed in a microreactor set up equipped with a non-dispersive IR detector. All uncalcined catalysts revealed a similar catalytic performance regardless of the type or amount of the incorporated alkali ion. Even though the specific surface area of the catalyst decreased from 77 m2/g to 37 m2/g during calcination the pure alpha-MnO2 phase exhibited a superior catalytic activity. Over alpha-MnO2 the temperature at which full conversion was achieved was shifted towards lower temperatures by more than 100°C. In contrast the catalyst containing alpha-Mn2O3 show a catalytic activity similar to the uncalcined catalysts indicating that not only the higher degree of crystallinity but also the structural properties of alpha-MnO2 cause its high catalytic activity. The incorporation of K+ ions is required to stabilize the tunnel structure of alpha-MnO2

Guests at EP2

Two French scientists visit RUB labs

Bruno Cailler and Juslan Lo visited the research group EP2 in Bochum from April 1st to April 5th, 2019. Both scientists are working at the Non equilirbium plasma diagnostics laboratory (Diagnostics des Plasmas Hors Equilibre or DPHE) at the  INU Champollion in Albi. Juslan Lo is associate professeor and Bruno Caillier is professor.

Juslan Lo received his Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and Automation from the Institut National Polytechnique of Toulouse in 2008 and PhD in Plasma Physics and Engineering from Université de Toulouse III in 2012. His main interests include interactions between plasma discharges, electromagnetic waves and biological substrate. During his PhD., he took interest in reconfigurable plasma-based photonic crystals and metamaterials, specially within microwave range frequencies. He joined INU Champollion in 2015 where he currently holds the position of Associate Professor. His current interest is the coupling between high frequency waves and plasma discharges in order to obtain favorable conditions for target species generation for environmental and medical purposes. His visit to Dr. Achim von Keudell's laboratory in University of Bochum was motivated by different experimental plasma characterization setups used in University of Bochum. He is interested in characterizing plasma discharges used in his work.

Bruno Caillier is working on non equilibrium plasmas at low pressure and atmospheric pressure, his interests are DBD lamp, phosphores excited by plasma, surface treatment and optical diagnostics. Heis currently working on setting up a monochromator, he is reprogramming the software to control its displacement, set the parameters and acquire the signal. He is also working on the characterization of a DBD plasma lamp (fed with Argon and Krypton) as a UV photon source based on phosphores deposited on the wall of the lamp and excited by plasma. He is also working on international projects in collaboration: University of Sao Paulo in Brazil with the group nano (Grupo de Nanomateriais e Sistemas Luminescentes), CAPES-COFECUB (2020-2024): Plasma synthesis of gold nanoparticles to study the process of energy transfer from excited lanthanides in the infrared in order to search for powerful photo-thermal effects for the development of nanothermometers; with Universidade de Araraquara (UNIARA) in Brazil: Treatment of edible bacterial cellulose with an Aura ECR source, modification of surface properties, adhesion and decontaminationPolymer plasma treatment for cell growth, adhesion modification; with the University of Oran (USTO) in Algeria: Experimental studies of DBD lamp as a UV photon source, thesis in co-supervision with the University of Oran (USTO); with the LGTex laboratory, in Tunisia: Treatment of textile by plasma processes.

GUEST AT EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS II

Sylvain Iséni stays two weeks for electric field measurements on micro cavity plasma arrays

Dr. Sylvain Iséni stayed from October 21st until October 31st, 2019, in the group of Prof. Achim von Keudell. His visit is part of the collaboration with his home institute, GREMI, espacially, Prof. Remi Dussart. Particularly, the focus of the recent visit is are eletric field measurements by optical emission spectroscopy in the project A6 (Dr. Volker Schulz-von der Gathen, Sebastian Dzikowski) of the CRC1316. In the project micro cavity arrays are investigated.

Furthermore, Dr. Iséni used the chance to participate in the online seminar and had a talk with the title "Temperate micro-plasmas for environmental purposes: sources, properties, cross-diagnostics & challenges".

GUEST at experimental Physics V at RUB

Emile Carbone visits the research group of Prof. Czarnetzki

On Oktober 25th, 2019, Dr. Emile Carbone from the Max-Planck institute for plasma physics in Garching, Germany, is going to visit the research group of Prof. Czarnetzki. Dr. Carbone is research group leader of the group Plasma for Gas Conversion and is invited to the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in the framework of the CRC 1316. Moreover, he is going to have a seminar talk at experimental physics V about "CO2 dissociation by microwave plasmas: prospects and challenges" at 10:15 in NB 5/158. Everyone who is interested is welcome to join!

PLASMA RESEARCH, project B7

Lightning bolt underwater 

© RUB, Kramer

A plasma tears through the water within a few nanoseconds. It may possibly regenerate catalytic surfaces at the push of a button.

Electrochemical cells help recycle CO2. However, the catalytic surfaces get worn down in the process. Researchers at the Collaborative Research Centre 1316 “Transient atmospheric plasmas: from plasmas to liquids to solids” at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) are exploring how they might be regenerated at the push of a button using extreme plasmas in water. In a first, they deployed optical spectroscopy and modelling to analyse such underwater plasmas in detail, which exist only for a few nanoseconds, and to theoretically describe the conditions during plasma ignition. They published their report in the journal Plasma Sources Science and Technology on 4 June 2019.

A plasma tears through the water within a few nanoseconds. Following plasma ignition, there is a high negative pressure difference at the tip of the electrode, which results in ruptures forming in the liquid. Plasma then spreads across those ruptures.

Video: Experimentalphysik II

Plasmas are ionised gases: they are formed when a gas is energised that then contains free electrons. In nature, plasmas occur inside stars or take the shape of polar lights on Earth. In engineering, plasmas are utilised for example to generate light in fluorescent lamps, or to manufacture new materials in the field of microelectronics. “Typically, plasmas are generated in the gas phase, for example in the air or in noble gases,” explains Katharina Grosse from the Institute for Experimental Physics II at RUB.

Ruptures in the water

In the current study, the researchers have generated plasmas directly in a liquid. To this end, they applied a high voltage to a submerged hairline electrode for the range of several billionth seconds. Following plasma ignition, there is a high negative pressure difference at the tip of the electrode, which results in ruptures forming in the liquid. Plasma then spreads across those ruptures. “Plasma can be compared with a lightning bolt – only in this case it happens underwater,” says Katharina Grosse.

Hotter than the sun

Using fast optical spectroscopy in combination with a fluid dynamics model, the research team identified the variations of power, pressure, and temperature in these plasmas. “In the process, we observed that the consumption inside these plasmas briefly amounts to up to 100 kilowatt. This corresponds with the connected load of several single-family homes,” points out Professor Achim von Keudell from the Institute for Experimental Physics II. In addition, pressures exceeding several thousand bars are generated – corresponding with or even exceeding the pressure at the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. Finally, there are short bursts of temperatures of several thousand degrees, which roughly equal and even surpass the surface temperature of the sun.

Water is broken down into its components

Such extreme conditions last only for a very short time. “Studies to date had primarily focused on underwater plasmas in the microsecond range,” explains Katharina Grosse. “In that space of time, water molecules have the chance to compensate for the pressure of the plasma.” The extreme plasmas that have been the subject of the current study feature much faster processes. The water can’t compensate for the pressure and the molecules are broken down into their components. “The oxygen that is thus released plays a vital role for catalytic surfaces in electrochemical cells,” explains Katharina Grosse.  “By re-oxidating such surfaces, it helps them regenerate and take up their full catalytic activity again. Moreover, reagents dissolved in water can also be activated, thus facilitating catalysis processes.”

adapted from Meike Drießen, Translated by Donata Zuber
PLASMA RESEARCH, project B7

Lightning bolt underwater 

© RUB, Kramer

A plasma tears through the water within a few nanoseconds. It may possibly regenerate catalytic surfaces at the push of a button.

Electrochemical cells help recycle CO2. However, the catalytic surfaces get worn down in the process. Researchers at the Collaborative Research Centre 1316 “Transient atmospheric plasmas: from plasmas to liquids to solids” at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) are exploring how they might be regenerated at the push of a button using extreme plasmas in water. In a first, they deployed optical spectroscopy and modelling to analyse such underwater plasmas in detail, which exist only for a few nanoseconds, and to theoretically describe the conditions during plasma ignition. They published their report in the journal Plasma Sources Science and Technology on 4 June 2019.

A plasma tears through the water within a few nanoseconds. Following plasma ignition, there is a high negative pressure difference at the tip of the electrode, which results in ruptures forming in the liquid. Plasma then spreads across those ruptures.

Video: Experimentalphysik II

Plasmas are ionised gases: they are formed when a gas is energised that then contains free electrons. In nature, plasmas occur inside stars or take the shape of polar lights on Earth. In engineering, plasmas are utilised for example to generate light in fluorescent lamps, or to manufacture new materials in the field of microelectronics. “Typically, plasmas are generated in the gas phase, for example in the air or in noble gases,” explains Katharina Grosse from the Institute for Experimental Physics II at RUB.

Ruptures in the water

In the current study, the researchers have generated plasmas directly in a liquid. To this end, they applied a high voltage to a submerged hairline electrode for the range of several billionth seconds. Following plasma ignition, there is a high negative pressure difference at the tip of the electrode, which results in ruptures forming in the liquid. Plasma then spreads across those ruptures. “Plasma can be compared with a lightning bolt – only in this case it happens underwater,” says Katharina Grosse.

Hotter than the sun

Using fast optical spectroscopy in combination with a fluid dynamics model, the research team identified the variations of power, pressure, and temperature in these plasmas. “In the process, we observed that the consumption inside these plasmas briefly amounts to up to 100 kilowatt. This corresponds with the connected load of several single-family homes,” points out Professor Achim von Keudell from the Institute for Experimental Physics II. In addition, pressures exceeding several thousand bars are generated – corresponding with or even exceeding the pressure at the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. Finally, there are short bursts of temperatures of several thousand degrees, which roughly equal and even surpass the surface temperature of the sun.

Water is broken down into its components

Such extreme conditions last only for a very short time. “Studies to date had primarily focused on underwater plasmas in the microsecond range,” explains Katharina Grosse. “In that space of time, water molecules have the chance to compensate for the pressure of the plasma.” The extreme plasmas that have been the subject of the current study feature much faster processes. The water can’t compensate for the pressure and the molecules are broken down into their components. “The oxygen that is thus released plays a vital role for catalytic surfaces in electrochemical cells,” explains Katharina Grosse.  “By re-oxidating such surfaces, it helps them regenerate and take up their full catalytic activity again. Moreover, reagents dissolved in water can also be activated, thus facilitating catalysis processes.”

By Meike Drießen, Translated by Donata Zuber
RECENT RESEARCH ACHIEVEMENT, project B8

How bacteria protect themselves from plasma treatment 

© Daniel Sadrowski

Plasmas are applied in the treatment of wounds to combat pathogens that are resistant against antibiotics. But bacteria know how to defend themselves.

Considering the ever-growing percentage of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, interest in medical use of plasma is increasing. In collaboration with colleagues from Kiel, researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) investigated if bacteria may become impervious to plasmas, too. They identified 87 genes of the bacterium Escherichia coli, which potentially protect against effective components of plasma. “These genes provide insights into the antibacterial mechanisms of plasmas,” says Marco Krewing. He is the lead author of two articles that were published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface this year.

A cocktail of harmful components stresses pathogens

Plasmas are created from gas that is pumped with energy. Today, plasmas are already used against multi-resistant pathogens in clinical applications, for example to treat chronic wounds. “Plasmas provide a complex cocktail of components, many of which act as disinfectants in their own right,” explains Professor Julia Bandow, Head of the RUB research group Applied Microbiology. UV radiation, electric fields, atomic oxygen, superoxide, nitric oxides, ozone, and excited oxygen or nitrogen affect the pathogens simultaneously, generating considerable stress. Typically, the pathogens survive merely several seconds or minutes.

In order to find out if bacteria, may develop resistance against the effects of plasmas, like they do against antibiotics, the researchers analysed the entire genome of the model bacterium Escherichia coli, short E. coli, to identify existing protective mechanisms. “Resistance means that a genetic change causes organisms to be better adapted to certain environmental conditions. Such a trait can be passed on from one generation to the next,” explains Julia Bandow.

Mutants missing single genes

For their study, the researchers made use of so-called knockout strains of E. coli. These are bacteria that are missing one specific gene in their genome, which contains approximately 4,000 genes. The researchers exposed each mutant to the plasma and monitored if the cells kept proliferating following the exposure.

“We demonstrated that 87 of the knockout strains were more sensitive to plasma treatment than the wild type that has a complete genome,” says Marco Krewing. Subsequently, the researchers analysed the genes missing in these 87 strains and determined that most of those genes protected bacteria against the effects of hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, and/or nitric oxide. “This means that these plasma components are particularly effective against bacteria,” elaborates Julia Bandow. However, it also means that genetic changes that result in an increase in the number or activity of the respective gene products are more capable of protecting bacteria from the effects of plasma treatment.

Heat shock protein boosts plasma resistance

The research team, in collaboration with a group headed by Professor Ursula Jakob from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (USA), demonstrated that this is indeed the case: the heat shock protein Hsp33, encoded by the hslO gene, protects E. coli proteins from aggregation when exposed to oxidative stress. “During plasma treatment, this protein is activated and protects the other E. coliproteins – and consequently the bacterial cell,” Bandow points out. An increased volume of this protein alone results in a slightly increased plasma resistance. Considerably stronger plasma resistance can be expected when the levels of several protective proteins are increased simultaneously.

By Meike Drießen, Translated by Donata Zuber
Awards

Poster Prize for Christoph Stewig (A3) at the Conference for Plasma Technology 19 in Cottbus

Christoph Stewig was awarded with one of the three poster prizes at the bi-annual conference on plasma technology in Cottbus.