Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

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 Earths 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 fr 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 Hmmerle
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

Harris & Harris Group Notes Announcements by Its Portfolio Companies During the Third Quarter of 2016 September 30th, 2016

INVECAS to Enable ASIC Designs for Tomorrows Intelligent Systems on GLOBALFOUNDRIES' FDX Technology: INVECAS to Collaborate with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Provide IP and End-to-End ASIC Design Services on 22FDX and 12FDX Technologies September 30th, 2016

How to power up graphene implants without frying cells: New analysis finds way to safely conduct heat from graphene to biological tissues September 30th, 2016

Innovation in Nanotechnology is Focus of Symposium: Annual event brings international experts to Northwestern Oct. 6 September 29th, 2016

Physics

New breed of optical soliton wave discovered September 9th, 2016

NREL discovery creates future opportunity in quantum computing: Research into perovskites looks beyond material's usage for efficient solar cells September 9th, 2016

Location matters in the self-assembly of nanoclusters: Iowa State University scientists have developed a new formulation to explain an aspect of the self-assembly of nanoclusters on surfaces that has broad applications for nanotechnology September 8th, 2016

University of Akron researchers find thin layers of water can become ice-like at room temperature: Results could lead to an assortment of anti-friction solutions August 30th, 2016

Announcements

Harris & Harris Group Notes Announcements by Its Portfolio Companies During the Third Quarter of 2016 September 30th, 2016

INVECAS to Enable ASIC Designs for Tomorrows Intelligent Systems on GLOBALFOUNDRIES' FDX Technology: INVECAS to Collaborate with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Provide IP and End-to-End ASIC Design Services on 22FDX and 12FDX Technologies September 30th, 2016

How to power up graphene implants without frying cells: New analysis finds way to safely conduct heat from graphene to biological tissues September 30th, 2016

Innovation in Nanotechnology is Focus of Symposium: Annual event brings international experts to Northwestern Oct. 6 September 29th, 2016

Aerospace/Space

New material to revolutionize water proofing September 12th, 2016

New breed of optical soliton wave discovered September 9th, 2016

Nanodiamonds in an instant: Rice University-led team morphs nanotubes into tougher carbon for spacecraft, satellites September 6th, 2016

Meteorite impact on a nano scale August 29th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic