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Paper by ODU’s Laroussi and Barekzi Selected for Inclusion in Journal’s 2012 Highlights

mlarouss-mounir-laroussi-1Mounir Laroussi

A research paper co-authored and published in 2012 by Old Dominion University electrical engineer Mounir Laroussi has been selected by the editorial board of Plasma Sources Science and Technology for inclusion in the journal's 2012 highlights.

The paper, "On atmospheric-pressure non-equilibrium plasma jets and plasma bullets," was highlighted as representing the "breadth and excellence" of the work published in 2012. "All articles were selected for their presentation of outstanding research and popularity with our online readership," the editorial board wrote.

Laroussi, who is director of the Laser and Plasma Engineering Institute in ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, was also in a highlights collection in the Journal Physics D: Applied Physics, which included the top plasma articles published last year, a collection known as the 2012 Plasma Roadmap.

"Dose-dependent killing of leukemia cells by low-temperature plasma," co-authored by Laroussi and Nazir Barekzi, a faculty member in biological sciences at ODU, was deemed "highly commended" by the journal's editorial board, and was among the most downloaded plasma physics articles of 2012.

Barekzi began working with Laroussi in 2011 as a research scientist with the Laser and Plasma Engineering Institute. He is also an adjunct assistant professor of biological sciences. His research interests involve molecular biology and include designing and implementing novel biological assays to investigate biomedical applications of low-temperature atmospheric-pressure plasmas.

Laroussi's research received significant attention in 2012. The American Institute of Physics featured Laroussi's cold plasma research on the home page of its website (www.aip.org). A blurb on the website referred readers to an Inside Science article about new findings showing that Laroussi's cold plasma pencil - which produces a room-temperature plume - can kill leukemia cells.

"We have a really amazing device," Laroussi says in the Inside Science article, which originally appeared Nov. 29, 2012, and is headlined "Leukemia Killing Plasma Beam Could Offer New Cancer Treatments: A Low-temperature 'Plasma Blowtorch' Triggers Death of Diseased Cells."

Laroussi's specialty is the plasma that can be created in regular atmospheric conditions and can be used - in dental or wound-healing treatments, for example - without burning normal human tissue. Conventional plasma, like that present in lightning and in television sets, is created in the absence of atmospheric pressure and is radically hot.

Cold plasma is made from near room-temperature nontoxic gases and is not believed to have negative long-term side effects.

Both plasmas have been shown to kill germs, but the low-temperature version has gotten more attention for biomedical applications because it is safer and easier to use.

The plasma pencil, which is about the size of an electric toothbrush, used helium gas as a medium for the plasma created in the leukemia cell studies. Results indicate that high doses of low-temperature plasma prevent leukemia cell proliferation and induce their death.