Center for Light and Plasma Science

When the new ECE building opens, it will house a new science center: The Center for Light and Plasma Science (CLPS).

This new center will bring together scientists and researchers who are studying aspects of and uses for plasma. As the department size has grown over the years, ECE faculty and researchers have had to spread out among the many buildings of the engineering campus. So ECE faculty who study plasma and its uses in power, antennas, atmospheric research, and lasers find themselves in locations quite a distance from one another.

The new center will help change that. ECE Assistant Professor Jonathan Makela, one of the organizers for the new center, said, “Co-locating all ECE plasma researchers in the new ECE building will go a long way in jumpstarting some of the cutting-edge research ideas. … It’s the intellectual collisions of meeting people in the hallway and having our grad students sitting in the same rooms and attending the same seminars where these ideas can rapidly develop.”

Topics to be tackled by the research in CLPS include creating efficient microplasma lighting devices that take advantage of plasma’s unique properties, using plasma for energy conversion and filtering, studying the plasma environment that comprises the Earth’s ionosphere, and using plasma to reconfigure the proprieties of antennas and enable them to radiate at differing frequencies without having to physically change the device.