Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Earl Scime

Committee Co-Chair

Paul Cassak

Committee Member

Fred King

Committee Member

D. J. Pisano

Committee Member

Earl Scime

Committee Member

Arthur Weldon


As of 2013, the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) estimates that the world emits approximately 36 trillion metric tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere every year. These large emissions have been correlated to global warming trends that have many consequences across the globe, including glacial retraction, ocean acidification and increased severity of weather events. With green technologies still in the infancy stage, it can be expected that CO2 emissions will stay this way for along time to come. Approximately 41% of the emissions are due to electricity production, which pump out condensed forms of CO2. This danger to our world is why research towards new and innovative ways of controlling CO2 emissions from these large sources is necessary.;As of now, research is focused on two primary methods of CO2 reduction from condensed CO2 emission sources (like fossil fuel power plants): Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) and Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU). CCS is the process of collecting CO2 using absorbers or chemicals, extracting the gas from those absorbers and finally pumping the gas into reservoirs. CCU on the other hand, is the process of reacting CO2 to form value added chemicals, which can then be recycled or stored chemically.;A Dielectric Barrier discharge (DBD) is a pulsed, low temperature, non-thermal, atmospheric pressure plasma which creates high energy electrons suitable for dissociating CO2 into its components (CO and O) as one step in the CCU process. Here I discuss the viability of using a DBD for CO2 dissociation on an industrial scale as well as the fundamental physics and chemistry of a DBD for CO2 dissociation. This work involved modeling the DBD discharge and chemistry, which showed that there are specific chemical pathways and plasma parameters that can be adjusted to improve the CO2 reaction efficiencies and rates. Experimental studies using the Versatile Atmospheric dielectric barrier Discharge ExpeRiment (VADER) demonstrated how different factors, like voltage, frequency and the addition of a photocatalyst, change the efficiency of CO2 dissociation in VADER and the plasma chemistry involved.