plasma research fields
Publication highlight
adam smith
UAB – cerif GRA

Structure Prediction and Materials Design with Generative Neural Networks

plasma research,plasma,research

What is the future of Plasma Research?

There are many career opportunities in engineering and physics for individuals knowledgeable about plasmas. Artificially produced plasmas are found in plasma displays for TVs, computers, inside fluorescent lamps and neon signs, and in the area in front of a spacecraft’s heat shield during reentry into the atmosphere. Plasma can be applied in the agricultural field to experiment with plant development and crop production. In the biomedical field, plasma research can be applied to research on sterilization. Plasma is also used for laboratory and computational plasma physics, automotive, and aerospace applications using sustainable waste materials. With plasma, one can also create new materials, such as diamonds!

FTPP research explained

The FTPP project aims to strengthen and further build plasma science and engineering (PSE) research capacity in AL, including Low-Temperature Plasma (LTP) and space plasma science, in academic institutions and industry partners. FTPP research is divided into 3 research thrusts. The project strategically uses Transformative Technology (TT) to inform and be informed by discovery/hypothesis-driven Foundational Research (FR) in Plasma Science Engineering (PSE). The synergy between these dual pursuits justifies a need for coordinated advances in both FR and TT and provides the intellectual seed for future generations. FTPP will achieve its vision by coupling knowledge from theory, computations, observations, and experiments to the development of new technologies, facilitated by LTP. Low-Temperature Plasma is a partially ionized plasma capable of producing chemically active species at a near-ambient gas temperature allowing for surface reactions.

3 Research THRUSTS


Transformative Technologies

Overall statement:

Transformational technologies (TT) addresses five distinct areas of technology development enabled by plasma processes. These include (1) machine learning enabled plasma synthesis of high-entropy materials that can function in extreme environments and materials for quantum information systems (2) plasma surface modification of carbon extracted from waste materials and their incorporation in high-performance composite materials (3) plasma synthesis of nanoparticles and their incorporation in biomaterials for antimicrobial properties as well as applications of atmospheric plasmas in agriculture (4) plasma mitigation of food safety risks in poultry products and (5) geospace radiation space weather tool to prevent damage in critical infrastructure in space and on ground.


Foundational Research 1 – theory and simulations

Overall statement:

Supports studies of fundamental physical, chemical, and thermal properties of collisional and collisionless plasma, providing the theory, modeling, and simulation foundation for other research activities of FTPP, including TT in areas such as the plasma-aided creation of smart and superhard materials, and plasma interactions with solid, liquid surfaces or biological objects. FR1 focuses on transport processes and energy flow in systems, waves, instabilities, nonlinear processes, self-organization, particle energization, and non-equilibrium chemical reactions in atomic and molecular gases and their Mixtures.


Foundational Research 2 – basic plasma science and diagnostic

Overall statement:

The goal of FR2 is to measure the basic properties of plasmas over a wide range of experiments and experimental conditions in the FTPP project.  Comparisons will be made between these experiments and combined with the development of theoretical models and simulations in FR1 in order to support the development of new plasma technologies in the TT portion of the FTPP project.

The specific research topics of FR2 will focus on:  (1) studying how the properties of the plasma vary as they are formed (i.e., the fraction of the gas that is converted to plasma); (2)  simulating space weather effects in the laboratory and comparing against satellite measurements; (3) developing new tools and techniques to make plasmas in the laboratory and to make measurements of plasmas.