Research

Research Area: Plasma Science

Plasma is an ionized gas, often referred to as “the fourth state of matter”.

Much like gas, plasma has no defined shape or boundary so it freely assumes the shape of its container. Unlike gas, plasma interacts with magnetic and electric fields, which can be configured to accelerate, compress, and manipulate plasmas. Plasma Science research at the UW William. E Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics is focused on achieving a stable fusion reaction that might one day be a sustainable source for clean, green energy and deep space propulsion. 

Our labs boast some of the most innovative approaches to this challenge. The Z-pinch process uses an electric current to magnetically confine, compress, and heat a long cylinder of flowing plasma. By eliminating the need for magnetic field coils, this design suggests that fusion power can be harnessed in a low-mass system that would be far more accessible, cost-effective, and versatile than previously imagined. The Mochi experiment simulates the formation and sustainment of an astrophysical jet so students and faculty can investigate plasma space propulsion concepts in a laboratory setting. The UW ‘Dynomak’ reactor creates a magnetic field within a closed space to hold plasma in place long enough for fusion to occur then recycles the heat to be largely self-sustaining.

Research in this field has applications in energy (power generation), electronics (microchip production), and space travel (plasma thrusters). 

Labs

Plasma Faculty

Dr. Raymond Golingo

Dr. Raymond Golingo
Research Assistant Professor
golingo@aa.washington.edu
Office: AERB 232
Phone: 206.543.7703

Dr. Thomas Jarboe

Dr. Thomas Jarboe
Professor
Adjunct in Physics
jarboe@aa.washington.edu
Office: AERB 438
Phone: (206) 685-3427

Dr. Uri Shumlak

Dr. Uri Shumlak
Professor
Associate Chair for Research
shumlak@uw.edu
Office: 432 Aerospace & Engineering Research Building
Phone: (206) 616-1986

Dr. John Slough

Dr. John Slough
Research Associate Professor
sloughj@uw.edu
Office: Plasma Dynamics Lab, Redmond
Phone: 425.881-3923

Dr. Setthivoine You

Dr. Setthivoine You
Assistant Professor
syou@u.washington.edu
Office: 238 AERB
Phone: (206) 616-8628

Research Topics

  • Advanced Diagnostics – Golingo
  • Computational Plasma Dynamics - Shumlak
  • Fusion Energy - Golingo, Jarboe, Shumlak, Slough, You
  • Finite Element Methods - Shumlak
  • Electric Propulsion / Space Propulsion - Golingo, Jarboe, Shumlak, Slough, You
  • Magnetic Confinement – You
  • Magnetohydrodynamics - You
  • Plasma Physics / Plasma Science - Golingo, Jarboe, Shumlak, Slough, You