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Laroussi Invited to Present Plasma Medicine Seminar on Capitol Hill

Mounir Laroussi

Mounir Laroussi, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Old Dominion University, will present a program on plasma medicine to members of Congress and their staffers on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Laroussi, who developed a much-publicized cold-plasma pencil and is recognized as a leader internationally in plasma technologies and their biomedical applications, was invited to give the talk by the national Coalition for Plasma Science, which sponsors Capitol Hill educational presentations twice a year. Laroussi will be the sole presenter at the seminar, which begins with a luncheon at noon in Room B-369 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Although most people associate plasma with blood, the plasmas of interest to Laroussi are the electrically charged gases, or "ionized" gases, that are found in nature-lightning is an example-and are also put to use in numerous manmade objects and devices. Fluorescent light comes from hot plasmas controlled within a vacuum. Flat-panel displays for televisions and modern welding techniques are also made possible by plasmas.

Laroussi's contributions to the field include inventions to produce the so-called cold or low-temperature plasmas that can exist outside of vacuums in the regular atmosphere. His cold-plasma pencil, which has been described as a small light saber, is about the size of an electric toothbrush and emits a two-inch-long plasma plume. The device has been the subject of news reports in National Geographic magazine and on several national television programs.

One of the reasons the plume has generated so much interest is the potential use of cold plasma in biological and medical applications. Laroussi, a pioneer in plasma medicine, has demonstrated how his plume can kill germs but not harm healthy human tissue, which makes it useful in promoting wound healing.

He will explain to the Capitol Hill audience how plasmas can be used for sterilization and decontamination in hospitals, for dental procedures, for treatment of diabetic ulcers and other chronic wounds, for the removal of amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, and for certain cancer treatments.

This article was posted on: November 6, 2009

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