A low power flexible dielectric barrier discharge disinfects surfaces and improves the action of hydrogen peroxide

Sophia Gershman, Maria B. Harreguy, Shurik Yatom, Yevgeny Raitses, Phillip Efthimion, Gal Haspel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


There is an urgent need for disinfection and sterilization devices accessible to the public that can be fulfilled by innovative strategies for using cold atmospheric pressure plasmas. Here, we demonstrate a successful novel combination of a flexible printed circuit design of a dielectric barrier discharge (flex-DBD) with an environmentally safe chemical reagent for surface decontamination from bacterial contaminants. Flex-DBD operates in ambient air, atmospheric pressure, and room temperature without any additional gas flow at a power density not exceeding 0.5 W/cm2. The flex-DBD activation of a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution results in the reduction in the bacterial load of a surface contaminant of > 6log10 in 90 s, about 3log10 and 2log10 better than hydrogen peroxide alone or the flex-DBD alone, respectively, for the same treatment time. We propose that the synergy between plasma and hydrogen peroxide is based on the combined action of plasma-generated OH· radicals in the hydrogen peroxide solution and the reactive nitrogen species supplied by the plasma effluent. A scavenger method verified a significant increase in OH· concentration due to plasma treatment. Novel in-situ FTIR absorption spectra show the presence of O3, NO2, N2O, and other nitrogen species. Ozone dissolving in the H2O2 solution can effectively generate OH· through a peroxone process. The addition of the reactive nitrogen species increases the disinfection efficiency of the hydroxyl radicals and other oxygen species. Hence, plasma activation of a low concentration hydrogen peroxide solution, using a hand-held flexible DBD device results in a dramatic improvement in disinfection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4626
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'A low power flexible dielectric barrier discharge disinfects surfaces and improves the action of hydrogen peroxide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this