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Laroussi Named to International Advisory Board of Plasma Journal

Mounir Laroussi, Old Dominion University professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the university's Laser and Plasma Engineering Institute (LPEI), has joined the International Advisory Board of the journal Plasma Processes & Polymers.

He was invited to join the board late last year and officially began the relationship in January. "Your outstanding experience and important achievements in the field of plasma science would surely be invaluable help for the further success and development of Plasma Processes & Polymers," wrote the journal's publishing editor, Sandra Kalveram, in the invitation.

Laroussi was a guest editor of a first-of-its-kind issue of Plasma Processes & Polymers in 2008 exploring the new field of "Plasma Medicine." The journal is a publication of Wiley-VCH, a German company.

Business Week magazine named Laroussi nearly a decade ago as one of the nation's leading experts in the field of atmospheric-or cold-plasmas, and he has been building research momentum ever since. He explores numerous applications of plasmas, such as in radar shields for aircraft, but many of his innovations have involved biological and medical uses.

Plasmas are highly charged soups that are sometimes called the fourth state of matter, neither a gas, liquid nor solid. Most people know plasmas because a field of plasma cells can glow in precise colors to create images on a television set. Vast quantities of plasma are in outer space, but at the Earth's atmospheric pressure they are too hot and aggressive to handle. Therefore, uses in neon lights and television screens must take place in vacuums.

Early in his research career, Laroussi began using ultrafast pulses of electricity to turn gases at normal atmospheric pressure into cold plasmas. He quickly moved to the head of the class in his field, and became known for his ability to produce an abundant amount of cold plasma economically.

In the cold plasma, electrons are wildly excited but they are so light in weight that they produce little heat. Heavier ions in this particular soup are relatively unexcited and so they also produce very little heat. Although much less aggressive than conventional plasmas, the cold plasma retains enough potency for many biomedical and industrial tasks, while having a significant ease-of-use advantage over conventional plasma.

In 2005 Laroussi developed a germ-killing cold plasma pencil-a handy device that looks like a small light saber. That invention has gotten international publicity in professional journals and the popular media.

This article was posted on: January 27, 2010

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