Plasma biomedicine is an emerging field that seeks to apply cold atmospheric pressure plasmas (CAPs) for the improvement of health outcomes and the treatment of disease states. Recent research in this field has demonstrated the usefulness of these plasmas for disinfecting surfaces, inactivating viruses and prions, disrupting biofilms, improving wound healing, and even treating cancerous tumors, alone and in combination with traditional therapies. These biological effects are thought to be mediated by the complex combination of reactive neutrals, ions, radicals, UV radiation, electric fields, and dielectric heating produced by these discharges, where they can act by direct chemical interaction with the pathogen or tumor or by indirectly modulating blood flow, cellular redox state, cell cycle progression, biomolecular turnover rates, or immune system activity.
A wide range of plasma discharge geometries and power supply configurations have been suggested for these applications. In all cases, the operating performance of these plasmas is substantially affected by factors such as the ambient environmental conditions, the electrical properties of the treated surface, and the gap distance between the device and the substrate. CAP devices are inherently difficult to control due to the exponential dependence of ionization on temperature, positive feedback between ionization and spatial power dissipation, and the short mean free paths of gas molecules at ambient pressure. Repeatability of CAP device performance is often poor, even in laboratory settings.
In this presentation, we will discuss the design and validation of a control strategy for improving the performance of CAP devices.
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