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Article by ODU Bioelectrics Center Researchers Moves Quickly to Top of the Charts

A research article written by Juergen Kolb (pictured), who is assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Old Dominion University's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology and a researcher at the university's Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, has earned a special commendation for being downloaded more than 250 times since it was published Nov. 20.

"Streamers in Water and Other Dielectric Liquids" appeared in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, which is produced by IOP Publishing Ltd. in the United Kingdom. Kolb's co-authors are three ODU and Reidy Center colleagues: Ravindra Joshi, University Professor of electrical and computer engineering; Shu Xiao, research assistant professor; and Karl Schoenbach, Batten Endowed Chair in Bioelectric Engineering.

The article is a review of research involving streamers, the phenomena of electrical discharges resembling tiny lightning bolts, that can appear when electricity introduced into a liquid or gas induces a tipping point at which the medium shifts from insulator to conductor.

Streamers can be utilized in the design of fast-closing switches for pulsed power systems. Ultrashort pulses of high voltage electricity, in turn, have numerous applications being studied at the Reidy Center, including their use to zap tumor cells. Reactive species, shockwaves and ultraviolet light associated with the generation of streamers also can be used for water treatment and in various other pollution-control processes for gases as well as liquids.

Kolb and his co-authors note that researchers generally have agreed on how electron avalanche ionization and streamer mechanisms are initiated in gases, but have not been able to agree about the same initiation process in liquids. They conclude, "Most of the data support the notion that an initial low-density nucleation site or gas-filled bubble assists the initiation of a streamer" in liquids.

IOP Publishing notified Kolb on Dec. 21-just one month after the article appeared-that it had already reached the 250 download milestone, placing it in the top 10 percent of articles published in the last quarter of the year by all of the company's journals.

"This is excellent news," said Richard Heller, director of the Reidy Center and ODU professor of medical laboratory and radiation sciences. "This shows the strong interest the scientific community has in the research being conducted by Juergen and other members of the center."

Kolb, Joshi, Xiao and Schoenbach have collaborated on previous research projects such as two that are titled "Energy Storage and Electrical Breakdown in Liquids," and "A Nanosecond, High Repetition Rate, All Water Pulse Generator."

Earlier this year, Kolb became a member of the Power Modulator and High Voltage Committee and the Pulsed Power Science and Technology Standing Technical Committee of the IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society. The IEEE, which is known now by the acronym, was formerly the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The young researcher has a doctorate in physics from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany and does research on the effects of pulsed electric fields in biological, medical and environmental applications. A particular focus of his work is the immediate physical response of cells and tissues to an electric stimulus.

In September, he delivered an invited talk, "Nanosecond Pulsed Electric Fields for Medical Applications," at the International Congress on Plasma Physics in Fukuoka, Japan.

This article was posted on: December 23, 2008

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