The feasibility of using microplasma device (MPD) as a non-thermal plasma source for hydrogen production to potentially replace conventional source of electricity for potable applications has been explored. The scaling theory for direct glow discharges along with the design approach, fabrication details and the experimental characterizations are presented for two types of device: Planar Geometry Microplasma Device (PGMPD), and Parallel Plane Electrodes Microplasma Device (PPEMPD). Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) and current-voltage characteristics of the two designs are described.

Issues related to plasma stability and breakdown voltage are studied. It was found that the breakdown voltage of the designs is about 280 V, with a 30-sccm of argon flow rate. In addition it was found that a more durable electrode material is needed to improve the lifetime of the PPEMPD devices, which is limited to about 2 hours due to sputtering. Experimental runs have demonstrated a water vapor conversion to hydrogen using argon plasma at atmospheric pressure.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Plasma devices--Research; Hydrogen as fuel--Research; Plasma chemistry--Industrial applications

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Materials Science and Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Center for Materials Science and Engineering


Yen-Wen Lu

Advisor/Committee Member

Davide Mariotti

Advisor/Committee Member

Lynn Fuller


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TA2030 .A32 2008


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