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ISR Plasma Chemistry Laboratory

isr at the air force research laboratory


The Plasma Chemistry Laboratory at the Air Force Research Laboratory is the home for five Boston College Institute for Scientific Research researchers, physicist Thomas M. Miller, chemist Anthony J. Midey, mechanical engineer John S. Williamson, and electronics engineer Paul L. Mundis. 

The laboratory contains four fast-flow chemical reactor apparatuses for studying electron and ion kinetics at thermal energies. 

Plasma Chemistry Laboratory

Research includes temperatures higher than conventional motivated by the need to make contributions in understanding hot plasmas occurring around fast-moving air vehicles.  Electron attachment to molecules has been studied from 300-1100 K.  Recent examples include Cl2, ClN3, freons, and sulfur-oxyhalides. 

Ion-molecule reactions have been studied over a similar temperature range, and include radicals such as metastable-excited oxygen molecules, which occur in any oxygen-containing plasma, e.g., the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Measurements have also been made on positive-ion negative-ion mutual neutralization and electron-ion recombination, the processes which limit plasma density following initiation. 

Boston College researchers have also participated in field campaigns with NASA, using modifications of the laboratory instruments to analyze aircraft exhaust on the ground and in flight, the stratospheric ozone hole in the arctic winter, and a volcanic plume reaching into the stratosphere. 

In addition, the laboratory benefits significantly from collaborations with university researchers in the U.S. and Europe.

Point of Contact for this project is Thomas M. Miller.