Numerous investigations have shown that non-equilibrium discharges at atmospheric pressure, also known as "cold atmospheric plasma" (CAP) are efficient to remove biological contaminants from surfaces of a variety of materials. Recently, CAP has quickly advanced as a technique for microbial cleaning, wound healing, and cancer therapy due to the chemical and biologically active radicals it produces, known collectively as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). This article reviews studies pertaining to one of the atmospheric plasma sources known as Dielectric Barrier Discharge (DBD) which has been widely used to treat materials with microbes for sterilization, disinfection, and decontamination purposes. To advance research in cold atmospheric plasma applications, this review discusses various types and configurations of barrier discharge, the role played by reactive species and other DBD-CAP agents leading to its antimicrobial efficacy, a few collection of DBD-CAP past studies specifically on surface, and emerging applications of DBD-CAP technology. Our review showed that non-thermal/equilibrium plasma generated from DBD could sterilize or disinfect surface of materials without causing any thermal damage or environmental contamination.


Biological Sciences

Second Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Third Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Publication Status

Early Access

Keywords and Phrases

bacterial biofilm; cold atmospheric plasma; decontamination; Dielectric barrier discharge; Dielectrics; Discharges (electric); Electrodes; Microorganisms; Plasmas; sterilization; Surface discharges; Surface treatment

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2024 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2024