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Stephen Burke Cronin, Ph.D.

Title: Utilizing Transient Pulsed Plasma and Plasmon Resonance Phenomena for Pollution Remediation and Energy Conversion Applications
Abstract: We review our recent results using high voltage nanosecond pulses to generate transient plasmas that drive a wide range of difficult chemical reactions including CO2 reduction, NOx and SOx remediation, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter (i.e., soot). The transient nature of the plasma gives rise to high energy electrons (i.e., non-thermal), which enable a rich set of chemical pathways not possible with standard equilibrium chemistry. These ultra-short high voltage pulses are also more energy efficient than conventional RF plasmas. We demonstrate enhancement in these plasma-driven processes by exploting local field enhancement on the surface of metal nanoparticles.   In situ Raman scattering pectroscopy is used to provide further characterization of these plasma-driven processes by elucidating surface bound reaction intermediates.

About the Speaker:   Stephen B. Cronin received his B.S. in physics from NYU and PhD in physics from MIT in 2002 under supervision of Professor Mildred Dresselhaus followed by post-Doctoral research in Professor Michael Tinkham’s lab at Harvard University.  Professor  Cronin  joined  the  Ming  Hsieh  Department  of  Electrical  Engineering-Electrophysics  at  the  University  of Southern  California  in  August  2005  and  has  earned  several  awards  for  his  research  accomplishments,  including  the  NSF CAREER Award in 2009, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award in 2008, the Charles Lee Powell Foundation Research Award in 2006, and the James H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Award. His research spans a broad range of interests including plasmon resonant photocatalysis, thermoelectrics, and transient plasma-based processes.