October 5, 2015

APS Congratulates 2015 Nobel Physics Laureates Kajita and McDonald

Small Spacecraft Thrusters, Longer Lasting Seafood, and Novel Fungicidal Treatments at Annual Plasma Physics Meeting

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The American Physical Society's 68th Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference/9th International Conference on Reactive Plasmas/33rd Symposium on Plasma Processing will take place October 12-16, 2015 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, HI.

A plasma is a gas-like state of matter in which some of the particles are electrically charged. Plasmas are often created when large voltages strip electrons from atoms or molecules, leaving behind a collection of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons. While gas-like in some ways, plasmas are also conductive, which means they share some properties with metals, and exhibit additional behaviors and properties unlike any other form of matter.

The unique characteristics of plasmas suggest a plethora of applications, including spacecraft propulsion, industrial manufacturing, and disinfection, among others. Increasingly, plasmas are turning up in new and promising medical treatments, and may offer novel solutions for fuel production, dental treatments and food preservation, to name a just a few cutting edge technologies.

Meeting details, including the complete meeting schedule, are available at: http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Content/2991


MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

TREATING AGGRAVATING FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Tuesday, October 13, 2:15 PM (HADT), Room: 301B

Plasma could provide an effective treatment for a common and unsightly infection. Onychomycosis is a fungus that can infect fingernails and toe nails, leading to cracking, yellow discoloration and, if left untreated, pain. The infection resides underneath the the nail, making it difficult to treat topically because medications don’t penetrate nails well. Medications taken orally to treat the infections can have serious side effects. Zilan Xiong (University of California, Berkeley) will describe a treatment using cold air plasma that appears effective at penetrating nails and destroying infections underneath. The treatment is painless, as one of Xiong’s colleagues can attest after wiping out fungal infections on a number of his own nails with the plasma treatment. The researchers must seek approval under FDA rules before testing the procedure further on patients. In the interim they’ve created experimental models made of cow hoof, and have found that the the plasma can dramatically reduce bacterial populations that serve as a stand in for the fungus. If approved for use in doctor’s offices, the researchers expect that three forty-five minute treatments over the course of a week could eliminate the fungal infections in most cases.
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/FT1.3

A SHOCKING APPROACH TO LONGER LASTING SEAFOOD
Friday, October 16, 2:30 PM, Room: 301 B

Zapping fish, abalone, sea urchin, seaweed and other seafoods can more than double their shelf life. Koichi Takai (Iwate University) will report on experiments that studied seafood freshness after being placed on a shelf hooked to a transformer that delivered 10,000 volts at fifty hertz. Monitoring the fluids dripping from foods stored at -10 degrees C (14 degrees F) showed that the proteins in electrically treated samples broke down much slower than in untreated samples. For abalone and sea urchin, the shocking treatment increased expiration periods to seven days, more than double the three days typical of the untreated shellfish.
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/UF1.4

PLASMA PROPULSION FOR SMALL SPACECRAFT
Friday, October 16, 4:15 PM, Room: 301 B

Small satellites are becoming increasingly popular, both for low cost university programs and the growing industrial interest in space-based opportunities. As a result, there is a demand for simple, reliable, and cheap thrusters for small spacecraft. Ana Aanesland (Ecole Polytechnique) and colleagues have developed a simplified plasma thruster optimized for satellites with masses as small as six kilograms. Because the plasmas ejected from thrusters consist of positively charge ions, a large negative charge will develop on a conventional thruster - and the device will cease to function - unless electrons are injected into the exhaust to neutralize it. Most thrusters achieve the neutralization by sending electrons through hollow cathode tubes that can be fragile and technically difficult to create and install. The thruster Aanesland and colleagues have created is a novel and simplified design that does away with the cathode tubes and instead emits a steady stream of ions along with regular burst of electrons to keep everything neutral overall. Aanesland will discuss the cathode-less thruster Tuesday, October 13 at 8:30 AM in room 301 B
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/DT1.3

John Slough (University of Washington) and colleagues are developing a simple thruster for small spacecraft as well. Their Inductive Coupled Electromagnetic (ICE) thruster relies on water for propellent. A porous metal structure in the thruster serves as both the nozzle and the RF antenna to vaporize and eject water. The ICE thruster is currently undergoing ground-based testing and shows promise as a simple, compact, high-performance satellite motor. The researchers hope to test the thruster in low earth orbit in a couple years, with a mission-qualified version ready to go soon after (Friday, October 16, 4:15 PM, Room 301 B, http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/WF1.4).

ATTENDEES’ MOST SCHEDULED TALKS
To see the most popular talks among physicists planning to attend the meeting go to:
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/TopEvent

OTHER TALKS OF INTEREST:

REDUCING AERODYNAMIC DRAG WITH PLASMA ARCS
Friday, October 16, 4:45 PM, Room 301 B
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/WF1.6

CLEANING YOUR TEETH WITH A PLASMA BRUSH
Wednesday, October 14, 8:45 AM, Room 301 B
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/IW1.3

BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS OF PLASMAS
Friday, October 16, 3:30 PM, Room 303 AB
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/WF4.1

THE STATE OF MEDICAL PLASMAS FOR  RESEARCH AND CLINICAL APPLICATIONS
Tuesday, October 13, 1:30 PM, ROOM 301 B
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/FT1.1

CONVERTING CO2 TO FUEL WITH PLASMAS
Wednesday, October 14, 1:30 PM, Room 301B
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/KW1.1

PLASMA TORCH IGNITES CLEANER COAL COMBUSTION
Thursday, October 15, 9:00 AM, Room 303 AB
Gray Arrow http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/GEC15/Session/NR4.5

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