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Plasma Medicine




The new field of the biomedical applications of plasmas was first introduced to the scientific community at the IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS) in the 1990s. Soon after that other international plasma conferences followed suit and did the same. Of note amongst these conferences are the Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC), the International Conference on Phenomena in Ionized Gases (ICPIG), and the International Symposium on Plasma Chemistry (ISPC). Along with these conferences several special issues dedicated to the biomedical applications of plasma were also organized by prominent journals such as the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Plasma Processes and Polymers, and Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. Since the early 2000s research has expanded to include work on the interaction of plasma with mammalian cells, with potential applications in dentistry, blood coagulation, wound healing, and in fighting some types of cancers by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death). These are exciting applications that could take plasmas further into the medical and therapeutic fields. In his Plenary talk at ICOPS 2000, Dr. Robert Barker of AFOSR commented on the emergence of the field of the biomedical applications of pulsed power and low temperature plasmas as follows: “A quiet yet dramatic revolution is invading the ultraconservative domain of western medicine. Virtual guerilla bands of visionary physicists and engineers are threatening to overturn conventional wisdom and challenge common practice in fields held hostage for centuries by chemists and biologists. We will examine the historical scientific roots of this insurgency, comment on its current manifestation, and speculate about its exciting future”.   The editorial of the Plasma Processes and Polymers Special Issue on Plasma Medicine (Vol. 5, No. 6, August 2008) summarized the excitement created by this new multidisciplinary research field as follows: “Recent demonstrations of plasma technology in treatment of living cells, tissues, and organs are creating a new field at the intersection of plasma science and technology with biology and medicine – Plasma Medicine. This fascinating field poses many technological challenges and brings to the forefront many fundamental questions regarding the mechanisms of interaction between living organisms and plasma”.

Based on the initial successes of this emerging field, now known as “Plasma Medicine”, several scientists came together and organized a new conference, the International Conference on Plasma Medicine (ICPM). The first of these conferences was held in Corpus Christi, TX, in 2007 and the second in San Antonio, TX, in 2009. A special issue guest edited by M. Laroussi and A. Fridman, based on the papers presented at ICPM-1, was published by Plasma Processes and Polymers in August 2008 (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121376857/issue). A second issue, also co-edited by Laroussi and Fridman, is scheduled to appear in late 2009. Along with this, a new research society, “The International Society on Plasma Medicine” (ISPM), has recently been formed. The official publication of ISPM will be “Plasma Medicine, an International Journal”. Prof. Laroussi is a member of the founding committee of ISPM as well as a member of the Editorial Board of the new Plasma Medicine journal. Prof. Laroussi has also been an organizer of the biomedical applications of plasma session at the International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS) from the late 1990s until the present, the organizer of the first minicourse on the topic at ICOPS 2004, and the co-Chair of a mini-conference on the topic in 2005 (Portand, OR).

Click here to see the full text of the latest paper of Dr. Laroussi on Plasma Medicine


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Publications of Laroussi’s group

Journals papers

M. Laroussi, “Low Temperature Plasmas for Medicine?”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., Vol. 37, No. 6, pp. 714-725, 2009.

M. Laroussi, A. Fridman, and R. M. Satava, “Plasma Medicine”, Plasma Processes and Polymers, Vol. 5, No. 6, 2008.

M. Laroussi, “The Biomedical Application of Plasma: A Brief History of the Development of  a New Field of Research”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 1612-1614, 2008.

M. Laroussi, W. Hynes, T. Akan, X. Lu, and C. Tendero, “The Plasma Pencil: A Source of Hypersonic Cold Plasma Bullets for Biomedical Applications”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 1298-1299, 2008.

Y. Z. Tang, X. P. Lu, M. Laroussi, and F. C. Dobbs, “Sublethal and Killing Effects of Atmospheric Pressure, Non-thermal Plasma on Eukaryotic Microalgae in Aqueous Media”, Plasma Processes and Polymers, Vol. 5, No. 6, pp. 552-558, 2008.

M. Laroussi, O. Minayeva, F. C. Dobbs, and J. Woods, “Spores Survivability after Exposure to Low-Temperature Plasmas”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. Vol. 34, No. 4, 2006.

M. Laroussi, C. Tendero, X. Lu, S. Alla, and W. L. Hynes, “Inactivation of bacteria by the Plasma Pencil”, Plasma Proc. Polym.3, pp. 470-473, 2006.

M. Laroussi, “Low Temperature Plasma-Based Sterilization: Overview and State-of-the-Art”, Plasma Proc. Polym., Vol. 2, No. 5, pp. 391-400, 2005.

M. Laroussi and X. Lu, “Room Temperature Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Plume for Biomedical Applications”, Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 87, 2005.

M. Laroussi and F. Leipold, “ Evaluation of the Roles of Reactive Species, Heat, and UV radiation in the Inactivation of bacterial Cells by Air Plasmas at Atmospheric Pressure”, Int. J. Mass Spectrom., Vol. 233, pp. 81-86, 2004.

M. Laroussi, D. A. Mendis, and M. Rosenberg, “Plasma Interaction with Microbes”, New Journal of Physics, Vol. 5, pp. 41.1-41.10, 2003.

M. Laroussi, J. P. Richardson, and F. C. Dobbs, “ Effects of Non-Equilibrium Atmospheric Pressure Plasmas on the Heterotrophic Pathways of Bacteria and on their Cell Morphology”, Appl. Phys. Lett. Vol. 81, No. 4, pp. 772-774, 2002.

M. Laroussi, F. C. Dobbs, Z. Wei, M. A. Doblin, L. G. Ball, K. R. Moreira, F. F. Dyer, and J. P. Richardson, “ Decontamination of Water by Excimer UV Radiation”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 1501-1503, 2002.

M. Laroussi, “ Non-Thermal Decontamination of Biological Media by Atmospheric  Pressure Plasmas: Review, Analysis, and Prospects”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 1409-1415, 2002 .

M. Laroussi, I. Alexeff, and W. Kang. “Biological Decontamination by Non-thermal Plasmas”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., Vol.28, No.1, pp. 184-188, 2000.

M. Laroussi, G. Sayler, B. Galscock, B. McCurdy, M. Pearce, N. Bright, and C. Malott, “ Images of Biological Samples Undergoing Sterilization by a Glow Discharge at Atmospheric Pressure”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 34-35, 1999.

M. Laroussi “ Sterilization of Contaminated Matter with an Atmospheric Pressure Plasma”, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., Vol.24, No.3, pp. 1188-1191, 1996.


Conference Proceedings 

A.D. Morris, G. B. McCombs, T. Akan, W. Hynes, M. Laroussi, and S. L. Tolle, “Cold Plasma Technology: Bactericidal Effects on Geobacillus Stearothermophilus and Bacillus Cereus Microorganisms”, J. Dental Hygiene, Vol. 83, No. 2, pp. 55-61, 2009.

E. Karakas, A. Begum, M. Lemaster, M. Laroussi, G. McCombs, M. Darby, and W. Hynes “ Experimental Investigations of Plasma Bullets and their Effects on Streptococcus mutans”, In Proc. 2nd Int. Conf. Plasma Medicine, San Antonio, TX, March 2009. Invited Talk

M. Laroussi, “Plasmas for Biomedical Applications: Interaction Pathways of Low Temperature Plasmas with Biological Cells”, In Proc. 40th Annual Meeting of AIP’s Division of Atomic Molecular, and Optical Physics, Vol. 54, No. 7, Charlottesville, VA, May 2009. Invited Lecture

M. G. Kong, M. Laroussi, and A. Fridman, “Plasma Medicine – Opportunities and Challenges for Science and Healthcare”, In Proc. IEEE 36th Int. Conf. Plasma Science, San Diego, CA, June 2009. Plenary Lecture

M. Laroussi, “ Mechansims of Interaction of Cold Plasma with Bacteria”, In Proc. 5th. Int. Conf. on Dusty Plasmas, p. 32, Azores, May 2008.

M. Laroussi, “ Interaction of Low Temperature Plasmas with Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells”, In Proc. 61st.Gaseous Electronics Conference, Dallas, TX, October 2008.

M. Laroussi, “Biological Decontamination by Low Temperature Plasmas and by Cold Plasma Jets”, NATO-ASI, Turkey, 2007.

M. Laroussi,  “Interactions of Cold Plasma with Bacteria and with Eukaryotic Microalgae”, Int. Conf. Plasma Medecine, Corpus Christi, 2007.

Y. Z. Tang, X. Lu, F. Dobbs, M. Laroussi, “Effects of Cold Air Plasma on Eukaryotic Microalgae”, In Proc. IEEE Pulse Power Plasma Sci. Conf., Albuquerque, NM, June 2007.

A. Morris, T. akan, G. B. McCombs, M. Laroussi, “Bactericidal Effects of Non-equilibrium Cold Plasma on G. Steathermophilis and B. Cerus”, In Proc. Int. Conf. Phenomena in Ionized Gases, Prague, July 2007.

C. Tendero, X. Lu, S. Alla, W. Hynes, and M. Laroussi, “Effects of the Plasma Pencil on Different Bacteria Genera”, IEEE Int. Conf. Plasma Sci., p. 265, Traverse City, MI, June 2006.

M. Laroussi, “Interaction of Non-equilibrium Plasmas with Biological Cells: What we have Learned so Far”, Gaseous Electronics Conf., Columbus, OH, Oct. 2006.

O. Minayeva, J. Wood, F. C. Dobbs, and M. Laroussi, “Remote Plasma Treatment of bacteria Using Non-equilibrium Atmospheric Pressure Air Dielectric Barrier Discharge”, In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Plasma Sci., Monterey, CA, p. 151, 2005.

M. Laroussi and F. Leipold, “ Mechanisms of Inactivation of bacteria by an Air Plasma”, In Proc. Int. Colloq. Plasma Processes, Juan-les-Pins, France, pp. 107-113, 2003.

M. Laroussi and F. Leipold, “Interactions of Non-equilibrium Atmospheric Pressure Plasmas with Biological Media”, In Proc. Int. Symp. Plasma Chemistry, Taormina, Italy, 2003.

M. Laroussi, “Plasma-Based Sterilization”, In Proc. Int. Conf. Phenom. Ionized Gases, Greifswald, Germany, pp. 11-12 , 2003.

F. Leipold and M. Laroussi, “Quantitative Evaluation of UV Radiation and Reactive Species in Air Plasma Used for Biological Decontamination”, In Proc. Electromed2003, pp. 18-19, San Antonio, TX, 2003.

M. Laroussi, J. P. Richardson, and F. C. Dobbs, “ Biochemical Pathways in the Interaction of  Non-Equilibrium Plasmas with Bacteria”, In Proc. Electromed2001, pp. 33-34, Portsmouth, VA, 2001.

M. Laroussi, J. P. Richardson, and F. C. Dobbs, “ Biochemical and Morphological Effects of Non-Equilibrium Atmospheric Pressure Plasmas on Bacteria”, In Proc. 15th Int. Symp. Plasma Chem., Vol. II, pp.729-734, Orleans, France, 2001.

M. Laroussi, and I. Alexeff, “ Decontamination by Non-equilibrium Plasmas”, In Proc. 14th Int. Symp. Plasma Chemistry, Prague, Czech Republic, pp. 2697-2702, 1999.

M. Laroussi, and I. Alexeff, “ Effects of Non-Equilibrium Plasmas on Microorganisms”, In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Plasma Sci., p. 208, June 1999.

M. Laroussi, M. Rader, F. Dyer, M. Dever, and I. Alexeff, “ Plasma-Aided Sterilization”, APS DPP Bull., Vol. 41, No.17, pp. 1539-1540, 1996.

M. Laroussi, “Sterilization of Tools and Infectious Waste by Plasmas”, Bull. Amer. Phys. Soc. Div. Plasma Phys., Vol. 40, No. 11, pp. 1685-1686, 1995.



Plasma Pencil







E. coli inactivation by plasma jet








Plasma plume touching skin









E. coli inactivation by air plasma





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Last modified: December 11, 2009