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Journal Announces Top 10 Distinction for ODU Bioelectrics Article

Karl Schoenbach, an Old Dominion University physicist and electrical engineer who is a pioneer in the use of nanosecond-pulsed electrical power for biological applications, is the lead author of a research article that has made the Top 10 list of the journal Plasma Sources Science and Technology for 2008.

Other authors of the article, "Electrical Breakdown of Water in Microgaps," from ODU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are Juergen Kolb and Shu Xiao, assistant professors; and Ravindra Joshi, University Professor. Also among the authors are two electrical engineering professors from Japan, Sunao Katsuki of Kumamoto University and Yasushi Minamitani of Yamagata University.

Schoenbach, the Batten Endowed Chair in Bioelectric Engineering and the founder of ODU's Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, was informed in mid-February that the article will be one of 10 Highlights articles that will be posted at special Web address where they can be accessed free of charge until the end of 2009. "The articles included in this collection have received outstanding reports from referees during the review process or have been among the most popular articles downloaded from the journal Web site in 2008," the journal's publisher wrote in a letter to Schoenbach.

The journal reported earlier this year that the Schoenbach article, which it published in May 2008, has already been downloaded 500 times. At the time, it was listed as among the top 3 percent of all articles published last year by the Institute of Physics (IOP) of the United Kingdom, which is the parent organization of Plasma Sources Science and Technolgy. The publisher wrote that the free access afforded the Highlights articles is designed to give them even greater visibility. (See http://herald.iop.org/pssthighlights2008/m159/kaa//link/2323.)

Richard Heller, director of the Reidy Center, said interest in the article shows that the bioelectrics research community is very interested in the center's work. "This is a noteworthy achievement," he added.

The article reports research results applicable to the construction of a new generation of compact pulse power generators for bioelectric applications. The researchers explain how a polar liquid allows the construction of compact power generators with faster rise time and higher repetition rate. The high repetition is important for bioelectric treatments where a large number of pulses need to be applied in a relatively short time.

Reidy Center researchers have made important discoveries in recent years involving the use of intense, ultrashort electric field effects to kill tumor and germ cells. Because the power is pulsed, sometimes with durations down into the single nanosecond range, it does not build up heat in the target cells or in healthy surrounding cells. Instead, the ultrashort pulses stimulate desired biological reactions such as orderly cell death.

In December, another IOP Publishing periodical, the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, reported that a research article written by the Reidy Center's Kolb, Joshi, Xiao and Schoenbach had been downloaded more than 250 times within a month after its publication. That article, "Streamers in Water and Other Dielectric Liquids," reviews research promoting improved designs for fast-closing switches for pulsed power systems.

This article was posted on: February 19, 2009

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