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Pure Appl. Chem., 2006, Vol. 78, No. 6, pp. 1147-1156

Miniature atmospheric pressure glow discharge torch (APGD-t) for local biomedical applications

S. Coulombe, V. Léveillé, S. Yonson and R. L. Leask

Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Abstract: The operating parameters of a miniature atmospheric pressure glow discharge torch (APGD-t) are optimized for the production of excited atomic oxygen, and the effect of the plasma jet on endothelial cells grown in Petri dishes is studied. We first demonstrate the importance of accounting for the effect of the voltage probe used to measure the electrical parameters of the torch on its ignition and operation characteristics. When operated with a main plasma gas flow rate of 1 SLM He and a power level of ~1 W, the torch shows an optimum in the production of excited atomic oxygen for a O2 flow of ~3.5 SCCM injected downstream from the plasma-forming region through a capillary electrode (i.e., 0.35 v/v % O2/He). It is shown that endothelial cells are detached from the Petri dishes surface under the action of the optimized plasma jet and that this effect does not originate from heating and fluid shearing effects. It is postulated that the cell detachment is caused solely by plasma-induced biochemical processes taking place at the cell-substrate interface.