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Kinetics and reactive chemistry of non-equilibrium plasmas

A plasma is a strongly reactive medium, which can be generated by applying high electrical fields in gases. By controlling the electric fields and the gas flows precisely, it is possible to generate thermal plasmas (e.g. stars, lightning, arc-welding) and non-thermal (non-equilibrium) plasmas, which are the primary type of plasmas studied in this group. In non-equilibrium plasma chemistry, reactions are initiated by electron-impact excitation and ionization while the gas temperature remains close to room temperature. This enables control over highly reactive chemistry close-to-room temperature conditions.

Non-equilibrium cold plasmas can therefore perform unique treatments of heat sensitive materials, and are indispensable in modern materials science, microelectronics, and semiconductor technologies. It has been demonstrated that plasmas can also be used for sterilization and decontamination including promising prospects for plasma-stimulated wound healing.

A significant component of our research program involves the investigation of the underlying plasma kinetics and chemistry of plasma processes with advanced optical diagnostics.

Further reading:

In a plasma, depending on the gas composition, temperature, and pressure, there is always a distribution of different reactive species. By understanding how these reactive species interact with other materials, like liquid surfaces or gas molecules, we can selectively promote or suppress different chemical reaction pathways and their kinetics by exposing a reaction medium under a plasma.