Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Plasma Experiment celebrates its anniversary on board ISS

Cosmonaut Oleg Kotov with the PK-3 Plus laboratory in MIM-2, the new Russian docking and research module, after installation of the experiment apparatus (front, in the black barrel) and the control computer (behind the cosmonaut).
(Credit: Image courtesy of RKK-Energia).
Cosmonaut Oleg Kotov with the PK-3 Plus laboratory in MIM-2, the new Russian docking and research module, after installation of the experiment apparatus (front, in the black barrel) and the control computer (behind the cosmonaut). (Credit: Image courtesy of RKK-Energia).

Abstract:
On 27th January 2010 the 25th series of experiments studying complex plasmas will start on board the international space station ISS. Physicists from the Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, will use them to study fundamental structure forming processes to better understand what happens in liquids and solids.

Plasma Experiment celebrates its anniversary on board ISS

Garching, Germany | Posted on January 27th, 2010

That matter exists in three states is widely known: as solid, liquid or gas. Our Universe, however, is dominated by a fourth state of matter: plasma. This forms, if a gas is heated to very high temperatures, so that its molecules dissociate in ions and free electrons. A plasma is regarded as the most disorganised state of matter. Researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial Physics, however, have found that under certain conditions plasmas can become liquid or may even crystallise. These are called "complex plasmas" and allow new insights into the physics of liquids and solids. Plasma physicists use them to study melting and crystallisation, motion of lattice defects in crystals, or liquid effects and other processes by looking at single atoms.

Complex plasmas consist of tiny particles (about one thousandth of a millimetre) that are suspended in a plasma and carry a highly negative electric charge. Due to the strong interaction between the particles, they can form regular structures, either liquid or solid. Since Earth´s gravitational field interferes with these processes, experiments with complex plasmas are carried out in space.

Research on complex plasmas with the PKE-Nefedov laboratory in 2001 was the first science project on board the international space station ISS and the most successful one during the first years. Its successor PK-3 Plus has already been running for four years and provides again unique results. The new series of experiments, carried out from 27th to 29th January is already the 25th mission to study complex plasmas in the absence of gravity. Moreover, PK-3 Plus has now been installed permanently in the new ISS module MIM-2, and will be its first scientific experiment.

One of the experiments in the PK-3 Plus laboratory will deal with "binary" complex plasmas: if two kinds of particles with different sizes are suspended in a homogeneous plasma, one could expect them to mix due to mutual repulsion. Previous experiments on board the ISS, however, have shown a clear phase separation of the two particles clouds (see figure 2).

"This phenomenon is well known from many different systems, such as molecular liquids or colloidal suspensions, and has been studied for a long time," says Hubertus Thomas, MPE-scientist and coordinator of the PK-3 Plus experiments. "In complex plasmas, for the first time we can now study these processes looking at the movement of individual particles and we hope that our latest experiments will lead to new insights into the physics of phase separation."

The study of complex plasmas is interdisciplinary, fundamental research. As in other fundamental research before, however, this work initiated a new approach in applied research: the results and experience gained with the plasma experiments on board the ISS and in the lab led to a new medical field, the so-called plasma medicine. Currently a clinical trial is carried out to study how plasmas can be employed for contact-free sterilisation of wounds, hand disinfection in clinical environments or treatment of gingivitis.

Acknowledgement

The continuous research on board the ISS for many years has only been possible with the bilateral agreements with Russia. The MPE partner institute in Moscow, the Joint Institute for High Temperatures of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has been one of the key contributors to this success story by securing the necessary resources and logistics on the Russian side for implementing research on complex plasmas on board the ISS. The German contribution, the construction and testing of a space-qualified laboratory for plasma crystal research, was funded by the space agency of the German Aerospace Centre with support from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

Links

Press Release on the MPE Website: www.mpe.mpg.de/Highlights/PR20100127/text.html

Joint Institute for High Temperatures in Moscow jiht.ru/

Minor Investigation Module 2 (MIM-2) on board the ISS: suzymchale.com/ruspace/mim2.html

Plasma medicine research at the MPE www.mpe.mpg.de/theory/plasma-med/index.html

####

About Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial Physics
The institute was founded in 1963 as a sub-institute of the Max-Planck-Institut für Physik und Astrophysik and established as an independent institute in 1991. Its main research topics are astronomical observations in spectral regions which are only accessible from space because of the absorbing effects of the Earth's atmosphere, but also instruments on ground based observatories are used whenever possible.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Dr. Hubertus Thomas
Theory Group
Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics
Phone: +49 89 30000-3838


Dr. Hannelore Hämmerle
Press Officer
Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics
Phone: +49 89 30000-3980

Copyright © Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial Physics

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Silicon Valley-Based Foresight Valuation Launches STR-IP™, a New Initiative for Startups to Discover the Value of Their Intellectual Property December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Physics

SUNY Poly NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as American Physical Society Fellow: SUNY Poly Associate Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Vincent LaBella Recognized for Significant Technological Innovations that Enable Interactive Learning December 17th, 2014

Fraud-proof credit card possible because of quantum physics December 16th, 2014

Nanoscale resistors for quantum devices: The electrical characteristics of new thin-film chromium oxide resistors that can be tuned by controlling the oxygen content detailed in the 'Journal of Applied Physics' December 9th, 2014

Unusual Electronic State Found in New Class of Unconventional Superconductors: Finding gives scientists a new group of materials to explore to unlock secrets of some materials' ability to carry current with no energy loss December 8th, 2014

Announcements

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Silicon Valley-Based Foresight Valuation Launches STR-IP™, a New Initiative for Startups to Discover the Value of Their Intellectual Property December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Aerospace/Space

Lifeboat Foundation gives 2014 Guardian Award to Elon Musk December 16th, 2014

NEI introduces NANOMYTE® SuperAi, a Durable Anti-ice Coating December 4th, 2014

Atmospheric carbon dioxide used for energy storage products December 2nd, 2014

Deep Space Industries and Solid Prototype Announce a Strategic Partnership: Solid Prototype Inc integrates with DSI’s spacecraft design process, helping reduce costs and decrease turnaround time December 1st, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE