The Michigan Engineer News Center

Purifying water with plasma

Michigan Engineering professor John Foster is working on a method to purify water with the fourth state of matter - plasma.| Short Read

Michigan Engineering professor John Foster is working on a method to purify water with the fourth state of matter – plasma. Foster hopes his new technology, which produces reactive radicals that can attack organic contaminants such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals, will help solve a problem not currently being addressed in conventional treatment methods that rely on filtration and chlorine. Foster’s technology, originally envisioned as a point-of-use system for underdeveloped countries, could be scaled up to a larger mechanism that would be implemented as a stage in the conventional treatment process.

Can we use plasma to purify our water? Michigan Engineering professor John Foster thinks so. He's working on a method to attack organic contaminants like pesticides and pharmaceuticals with the fourth state of matter.

About the Professor

John Foster is an Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. His research interests include low-temperature plasma science including the areas of propulsion plasmas, environmental plasmas, space and atmospheric plasma phenomena, energy conversion plasmas and processing plasmas.

Portrait of Jennifer Judge Hensel

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Jennifer Judge Hensel
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Michigan Engineering
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(734) 647-7085

3214 SI-North

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read