Although plasmas are the most abundant form of visible matter, vastly
exceeding in quantity all of the solid, liquid, and gas matter in the
entire universe, they are not well understood.
"If you combine all the stuff we can see in the universe. Solid,
liquid, and gas matter combined together are only about 1% of this
visible matter. The other 99% of the observable matter finds itself in
the form of plasmas." explains Professor Jose L. Lopez of the Department
of Physics at Seton Hall University.
Even though, plasmas are very abundant they are deceptively difficult
to understand because their behavior is extraordinarily diverse and
varied. The main reason for this complexity is that plasmas tend to very
often interact with the other three states of matter. When plasmas
interact with solids particles, the solid materials acquire electrical
charge and in some cases interact with small solid particles forming
what are known as dusty or complex plasmas. This plasma and solid
materials interaction is commonly observed in the burning dust clouds of
On earth complex plasmas are extremely important for many industrial
processes such as semiconducting and microelectronics manufacturing.
Professor M. Alper Sahiner, Chair of the Department of Physics and
Director of the Advanced Materials Synthesis and Characterization
Laboratory at Seton Hall University uses laser pulses to create complex
plasmas to deposit solid thin films on silicon and germanium wafers.
Silicon and germanium are semiconductor materials of critical importance
to microchip and solar cell manufacturing.
Sahiner’s physics colleague, Jose L. Lopez, Director of the
Laboratory of Electrophysics and Atmospheric Plasmas (LEAP) studies the
fundamental behaviors of complex plasmas in various chemical processes.
In recent research work, Professor Lopez and his research team have
studied the formation of hydrocarbon particulates in plasma processing
systems. This complex plasma induced particulate formation has been
found to be detrimental in such major industrial processes as ozone
generation used in water treatment applications.
The numerous scientific discoveries of these two Seton Hall physics
faculty members along with many of the world's other leading complex
plasma researchers has recently been compiled into a new book published
by Springer, one of the primer scientific publishers. The new book
entitled Complex Plasmas: Scientific Challenges and Technological
Opportunities seeks to make more assessable this very important yet
rather difficult subject to a wider audience.
The new book is a direct result of an international collaboration
between Seton Hall complex plasma researchers and other researchers in
the United States and Germany. This international collaboration has
jointly worked over the last eight years to organize the very successful
Graduate Summer Institutes on Complex Plasmas summer school series. The
last summer school, the 3rd Graduate Summer Institutes on Complex
Plasmas was organized and held at Seton Hall University from July 31 to
August 8, 2012.
This new book Complex Plasmas: Scientific Challenges and
Technological Opportunities was edited by Jose L. Lopez of Seton Hall
University along with Michael Bonitz and Hauke Thomsen of University of
Kiel in Germany and Kurt Becker of NYU-Polytechnic in Brooklyn, NY.
Professor Sahiner contributed a chapter on the characterization of local
structures in plasma deposited semiconductors by X-ray absorption
spectroscopy to the new book.
The book was primarily written to help in the further education of
advanced undergraduate, graduate students, or postdoctoral researchers
seeking to specialize in plasma physics. The book provides a
comprehensive introduction to the physics of complex plasmas, a
discussion of the specific scientific and technical challenges they
present, and an overview of their potential technological applications.
The book is now available from Springer through this link.
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