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Mounir Laroussi, associate professor in Old Dominion University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a researcher at the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, has won an Excellence in Innovation Award presented by the Hampton Roads Technology Council.

The award was announced at the council's Tech Nite '06 Awards Gala on Thursday, May 4.

Laroussi won one of three innovation awards sponsored by the law firm of Willcox & Savage P.C. His winning invention is an electrodeless excimer UV lamp for which he recently received a patent.

Kevin Grierson, a registered patent attorney with Willcox & Savage, said the winning innovations were chosen from among 160 patents granted to Hampton Roads inventors and companies.

The council's Hampton Roads High Tech Company Award went to WR Systems Ltd., whose senior vice president is Dave Edwards, the chair of the advisory board of ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

Laroussi's new ultraviolet lamp is designed to be ultra efficient and can be used in numerous industrial applications. He now holds four patents in the field of plasmas and applications, and garnered national attention most recently for his development of a "plasma pencil," a hand-held device that shoots out a plasma plume and has various germ-killing uses.

Plasma is a soupy cloud created when some sort of energy, such as extremely high heat, rips electrons away from the nuclei of atoms. It is sometimes called the fourth state of matter, along with solids, liquids and gases, and it is at work in fluorescent and ultraviolet lights.

The electrodeless lamp is designed to overcome inefficiencies in most commercially available excimer ultraviolet lamps. A conventional lamp has a wire mesh outer electrode that partially blocks light emissions and an internal electrode that curtails the life of the lamp.

Laroussi has been involved in invasive species research with Fred Dobbs, ODU associate professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences, involving the use of ultraviolet light to kill harmful organisms in the ballast water of ships. Ultraviolet light applications include water purification, surface disinfection, paint and ink curing and surface treatments for polymers.

In 2001, Business Week magazine named Laroussi and Karl Schoenbach, director of the Reidy Center and Batten Chair in Bioelectrics Engineering, as cold plasma experts.

"Mounir Laroussi is a real asset to our center," Schoenbach said.

Oktay Baysal, dean of the Batten College, said of Laroussi: "His invention is yet another testimonial that Dr. Laroussi and his colleagues in the Batten College of Engineering and Technology think boundlessly when it comes to applying such disruptive technologies so innovatively."

Baysal added that Edwards has been a staunch supporter of the Batten College. "We very much appreciate the time and the efforts he spares for us and we benefit immensely from his advice."

This article was posted on: May 4, 2006

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