A collaborative team from Princeton University and Ohio State University has been awarded a $3 million program for a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Low Temperature Plasma Science Center. The center will be led by Prof. Igor Adamovich at Ohio State University and joined by Profs. Yiguang Ju and Bruce Koel at Princeton University as co-principal investigators. The center will facilitate an integrated multiscale experimental and modeling approach to improve the fundamental understanding of plasma-aided combustion and plasma-assisted catalysis, in order to address pressing challenges of transitioning from fossil energy to renewable energy. This center is one of just two science centers of this kind in the U.S. started by the DOE in 2019, providing funding for the next five years. The other plasma science center is led by the University of Michigan. In a related announcement, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) were each awarded funding for establishing User Facilities Center for studies of low temperature plasma science.
In the announcement of this science center by Ohio State University, “Research in the important fields of fusion energy and plasma science promises both short-term and long-term benefits to industry and society at large,” said Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. “These initiatives ensure that America continues to lead in these critical fields.” Because fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources will become exhausted over time, fusion energy involving plasma is a desirable, sustainable source of “clean power.” According to the DOE Office of Science, understanding basic plasma science, including low temperature plasmas, is vital to enhancing the country’s economic competitiveness and creating opportunities for a broad range of applications.