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History Channel Visits to Record Laroussi's 'Science Impossible'

A production company from the History Channel working on a new series called "Science Impossible," spent eight hours on the Old Dominion University campus March 11 videotaping a segment on Mounir Laroussi, the ODU electrical engineer who is a pioneer in the field of cold plasmas and their futuristic applications.

The segment about Laroussi and his research is tentatively scheduled to be aired in July.

Laroussi's invention, the cold plasma pencil, which looks something like a small light saber, will be featured in the program. Researchers at ODU are studying germ-killing applications of the hand-held device.

The crew also video-recorded Laroussi's cold plasma cloak, which someday could shield potential targets such as aircraft from radar and certain weapons systems. All of the demonstrations for the cameras were performed at ODU's Laser and Plasma Engineering Institute, which Laroussi directs.

Motion Picture Production Inc., of Santa Monica, Calif., has contracted with the History Channel to produce "Science Impossible" segments. Director Matt Irving was particularly interested in Laroussi's recent discovery that the cold plasma plume that shoots out of the pencil body is composed of many tiny pellets, and not of a continuous gaseous flow. Irving video-recorded slow-motion computer screen images of the pellets, which were captured by a camera with an exposure time of only a few nanoseconds.

Writer-producer Kevin Commins said he enjoyed working with Laroussi, adding, "His research is fascinating and he is enthusiastic about it."

Most people are familiar with the plasma that is used to light up fluorescent bulbs and television screens, but most uses of this supercharged gas require it to be contained in a vacuum. Regular plasma is very hot and difficult to manage in the Earth's atmosphere. Laroussi has been a pioneer in the generation and bio-application of cold plasma that is cool enough to pass a finger through even though it packs enough wallop to kill bacteria.

This article was posted on: March 16, 2009

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