A Passion for Plasma
Hot, charged substances known as plasma qualify as an unusual state of matter that is neither solid nor liquid, but rather ionized gas. Plasmas are now finding important industrial applications including as potential means to produce energy in the form of fusion reactors.
As Canada Research Chair in Plasma Science, Dr. Akira Hirose oversees the development of several commercially viable plasma-based technologies. He will examine the prospects for using plasma to create new materials, devise sophisticated coatings on surfaces and even dispose of hazardous wastes. He will also continue contributing to fusion research that has the potential to develop viable fusion reactors.
Hirose established a place at the forefront of this field by building and operating Canada's first tokamak, an elaborate device for suspending high-temperature plasma in a magnetic field.
This research will greatly benefit the high-tech sector, where plasma is used in computer chips research.
Plasma discharges can also be used to clean or sterilize different types of materials, including some that cannot withstand heat.