New vision for plasma research to open

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A RESEARCH centre which is part of a multi-million pound drive to foster closer collaborations between industry and universities will be officially opened in Yorkshire next week.

The York Plasma Institute, the result of a £6m collaboration between at York University and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, will be opened by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, on Monday.

The institute, part of the Department of Physics, will provides facilities for research and training in fusion energy.

The university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Brian Cantor, said: “Our vision is to establish a world-leading interdisciplinary plasma physics research and training institute. We want to inspire partnerships between industry and universities and encourage start-up companies, maximising the value of the research and its impact on society.”

Plasma is a form of ionised gas, and is abundant in the universe – stars, including the sun, are in a plasma state, as is the solar wind, the Northern Lights and lightning. Plasma can be relatively cool, such as in a modern television set or a fluorescent light bulb, or extremely hot, such as in the core of the Sun.

The York Plasma Institute brings together high temperature plasmas for fusion and laser-plasma interaction research with low temperature plasmas under one roof, enabling synergies between the disciplines to be exploited.

The new facilities of the York Plasma Institute house 11 academic staff, 10 post-doctoral researchers and over 40 postgraduate students. Purpose-built laboratories include a biomedical laboratory for investigating potential biomedical applications of low temperature plasmas, including sterilisation, wound healing and cancer treatment.

The opening event features a series of workshops, keynote speakers, tours of the facilities, display posters, networking opportunities and outreach sessions for local schoolchildren.