Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Belmont, CA

Editorial March 2015

I just celebrated my 15th year in the plasma surface modification business. And I have gathered 15 years of misconceptions and have, successfully I think, been able to educate and raise the awareness of the technology’s flexibility for designing working surfaces and dispel many of these.

The most common are:

  • It doesn’t last
  • All equipment is the same
  • All plasmas are the same
  • I tried argon and oxygen and it didn’t work, thus plasma doesn’t work
  • It produces ozone
  • It just oxidizes the surface
  • It is expensive

 

With my colleagues, I have published papers (with a book chapter pending!) and presented at numerous conferences, exhibitions and companies. Plus provided workshops on the technology to a variety of audiences. I love doing this because I’m always dispelling these misconceptions and educating about the diverse field of plasma. One of our advisors has coined the term “plasmersion.” It is a fun way to think about the process (and the work as a noun): the part is typically immersed in the plasma (in the case of the 3-d vacuum plasma treatment) and with Openair the surface to be treated is immersed in the plasma. It also could be used as a verb, and I’m plasmersing folks in our technology.

With that said, I’d like to remind you of the services that I offer.

In addition to Plasma Technology Systems’ long history of providing professional commercial solutions (30 years and counting) and our exceptional customer service, we offer what we believe to be the most diverse private-sector atmospheric and low pressure plasma equipment suite and surface chemistry offerings in the world.

We have a global network of partners and subsidiaries in all key industrial markets that enables us to provide our customers with all-in-one solutions (both bespoke and off-the-rack).

Depending on your specific relationship with us, you may not know that we offer all of the following:

  1. Research and Process Development:  We offer a highly creative yet low-risk environment for the evaluation and development of novel gas plasma processes, for small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Customers can bring us their own ideas or pull from our extensive (and ever-expanding) process and chemistry library.  We can advise you on specific plasma issues, develop plasma processes to address your specific needs, and assist in the development of a full-scale plasma system tailored to your specific requirements.
  2. Contract Manufacturing Services.  We have a fully equipped ISO: 9001 contract manufacturing division (4th State, Inc.) in Belmont, California (just north of Silicon Valley), where we modify materials on a contract basis. This is an ideal solution for companies that are not ready for the technology transfer. These contract manufacturing services enable a seamless translation of process to production with no capital expense, for your smallest and largest products—from powder to 1.5 meter-wide rolled goods. This is another area where we offer risk reduction. You can test your product in the market first, gain acceptance and confirmation of volumes, and then lease or purchase the equipment.
  3. Equipment Solutions.  From small batch to large batch to fully integrated work cells, our team delivers standard systems and custom platforms for low-pressure and atmospheric plasma technology. Depending on the technology, you have the option to buy the equipment outright or lease it from us with warranty support for the term of the lease. Our equipment solutions also include installation, training support and calibration services. And we maintain a full supply of spare parts in two facilities to support our North American customer base.

If you take nothing else away from this message, remember this: We offer a whole lot more than you probably think we do. So if there’s ever anything we might be able to help you out with, give us a call—you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s the only call you need to make.

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Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Belmont, CA

Editorial May 2014

I sell gas plasma technology.

This can be confusing, as there are several types of plasmas, both naturally occurring (such as the Northern Lights, lightning, and stars) and human-made (such as those used in neon signs, fluorescent lights, and plasma televisions).

From the examples above, it’s clear that plasma generates both light and energy. Plasma can also be used to modify – or, more specifically, molecularly re-engineer – other materials.

My company sells plasma technologies and processes for modifying a myriad of materials. Typically, the application is a surface cleaning and activation – either to prepare plastic or metal for a subsequent coating or bonding step — or thin film coatings that may be used to change the barrier or coefficient properties of a surface.

There are many different ways to manufacture human-made plasma.
We use primarily atmospheric and low-pressure plasma technologies in our work. There are a number of benefits to the low-pressure approach:

1.   For starters, the working environment is a primary plasma. In a primary plasma, there is a greater mean free path of the particles before a collision.

This sustained energy is ideal for modifying the interstices of porous media (such as a non-woven or sintered polymer), or for use inside complex nano-scale vias or channels. With atmospheric processes, on the other hand, the mean free path is very short, so the treatment area is limited.

2.   Low-pressure plasma offers chemistry versatility. Many different gases and vapors can be used, safely and economically. Low-pressure plasma is often used as a replacement technology for wet chemistry processes, providing greater control, lower costs, and lower risk of workplace exposures that could lead to accident or injury.

Additionally, unlike many wet chemistry processes, rinsing and curing is not required with a low-pressure process. This means a much shorter processing time, minutes versus hours in some cases.

In atmospheric processes, use of these chemistries may be dangerous and quantities required to generate the plasma may not be economical. This is one of the reasons that our Openair® technology uses just air. It’s incredibly cheap, readily available, and great for many industrial high-speed surface preparation processes.

3.   When using a low-pressure technique, multiple steps may be run in a single process. A part may be exposed to a cleaning gas chemistry (to remove contaminants from a surface) as well as an activation or coating process in a single run. It is not unusual for a single plasma process to replace two to three manual steps, eliminating overhead costs associated with transporting product, labor and materials.

4.   Another advantage is that the low-pressure process provides an extremely controlled environment. The process is conducted in a vacuum chamber with exacting control of gas flow, time, and power. Variations in the day-to-day environment are removed, and the precise process is readily reproducible. Additionally, cleanliness is assured, whether the process is practiced in a clean room or on an industrial manufacturing floor.

5.   Low-pressure technology allows for permanent, stable results. This means that a large batch of parts may be treated and stored prior to use. Or, alternately, parts may be shipped to other manufacturing sites for final assembly.

6.   Our low-temperature process enables treatment of thermally sensitive materials, and the process is free from electrical potential. Therefore, conductive materials may be safely modified.

7.   The total cost of consumables, including energy, gases/liquids, and maintenance parts, is typically less than $5 per hour. Furthermore, there are no additional costs for hazardous waste disposal, as none is created.

8.   The technology offers high-batch throughput:

•   Line speeds, in our standard R2R equipment, are up to 100 fpm with again, no time require for curing or drying steps.
•   Cycle times, during batch processing, range from 60 seconds to 20 minutes. Because a single batch may include hundreds or even thousands of parts, this means that each individual part is treated in mere fractions of a second.

Our job is to accurately evaluate your application and select the most appropriate technology solution for your production goals, be it low-pressure, corona, flame, or Openair. In rare cases, a simple IPA wipe may be all that’s needed to solve your adhesion problems!

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, I welcome your calls and emails.

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Category: Cleaning / Glass
25. November 2013   2:31 am
Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Belmont, CA

Is it true that one of the first commercial uses of plasma ashing was to ablate fish to expose mercury contamination?

Sitting around the lunch table the other day, our chemist expanded on an early use of plasma for one of the first commercial applications: ashing fish to expose mercury (or other metals) to evaluate the impact of contamination from industry. While it seemed like a logical use of the technology, I couldn’t get my head around this as one of the first commercial applications….so did a bit of research and finally reached out to one of the experts in the field of vacuum technology: Donald Mattox. He confirmed that low pressure plasma ashing has been used for over 50 years for trace element analysis – an early use of replacing wet chemistry!

Don sent the following citations confirming the use:

1962: C. E. Gleit and W.D. Holland, “Use of electrically excited Oxygen for the low temperature decomposition of organic substrate” Anal Chem. Vol. 34 (11) pp 1454-1457

1977: M. Velodina, “Quantitative determination of Mercury in Organic materials by means of a low temperature, high frequency discharge plasma in oxygen” Analytical Letters 10(14) 1189-1194

And Don added one of his favorite Oxygen plasma cleaning stories (from his book “Foundations of Vacuum Coating Technology”)

When preparing to aluminize the Palomar mirror, John Strong notified the mirror polishers that he would be using a new cleaning technique using ‘a special fatty acid compound with precipitated chalk.’ When he arrived the ‘special fatty acid compound’ was Wild Root Cream Oil hair tonic (ad jingle: ‘You better get Wild Root Cream Oil, Charlie; It keeps your hair in trim; Because it’s non-alcoholic, Charlie; It’s made with soothing lanolin’). He stated, ‘In order to get glass clean you first have to get it properly dirty.’ The oil residue was ‘burned-off’ using an oxygen plasma in the vacuum deposition chamber. (From The Perfect Machine: The Building of the Palomar Telescope, Ronald Florence, pp 382-386, HarperCollins, 1994).

I’m assuming that the following US Patent from 1978 helps corroborate his story: 4088926: Plasma Cleaning Device (for cleaning organic contamination on optical surface) 

I found this quite interesting and did some additional research that I would like to share with my readers:

Plasma, atmospherically, has been used professionally by museums and NASA to remove carbon contamination or char, selectively, as a restoration technique for fine art.

Before and after image of artwork cleaned by atomic oxygen.

From http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/business/AtomicOxRestoration.html

Some later work of interest was published by Texas A&M: Used RF plasma to selective remove inorganic mater from paint and prevent damage to the substrate (rock). Organic components can then be analyzed and dated.
1992: Direct Radiocarbon Dating of rock Art. Radiocarbon, V 34, No. 3, 1992, P 867-872. J. Russ, M. Hyman and M. Rowe, TAMU.

I could go on and on and on… Plasma truly offers us a tremendous tool box for modification of myriad materials!

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Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Belmont, CA

Editorial July 2013

Giving back to the community personally and professional has always been important. The challenge however is making the time to have an impact. Through my involvement with groups such as AVS, SVEC  and the SPE local chapter, I as well as my colleagues have been able to expose a diverse group of Bay Area kids and young adults to the varied career opportunities in the sciences, specifically surface modification and vacuum technology. One of my favorite events (tied with volunteering at the Maker Faire) is “Expanding your Horizons.” EYH is a not-for-profit organization that “inspires girls to recognize their potential and pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

The following picture is from this year’s most recent event – with their permission of course. They were actively controlling the vacuum pump and chamber to “measure” the effect of a vacuum on a Peep marshmallow.  This is always the highlight of the day…next to the shaving cream experiment!

It is incredibly rewarding to be in a room with curious young girls and expose them to my “life in a vacuum.”

Girls blowing up PEEPs

Girls blowing up PEEPs

 

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Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Belmont, CA

Editorial March 2013

I just attended Peter Sims’s though provoking presentation, “Little bets and black sheep:  the revolution will be improvised.”  I highly recommend viewing the presentation on line.  It can be accessed via http://www.parc.com/events/forum.html.  If you are not familiar with the *FREE* PARC speaker series, register.  They are TED style talks that are 100% accessible either in person at thePalo Alto facility or via the web.  I typically view live, on-line via the Justin-TV feed.

Watch it and stay for the Q&A.   Excellent questions from our peers, about how to take the reality of what many face in large corporations and integrate with his ideas (that on paper everyone wants, but when it comes down to business, often not supported).

His main message is that investing in many small ideas may yield a higher success rate and less failure than researching and investing in one big “bet.”  It is a new telling of don’t put all your eggs in one basket:  diversify.   Learning from the failures of these small “bets” mitigates risk from one big failure.

100 small bets = 6 % success rate.

Peter writes:

“Bill Hewlett, an ardent proponent of small bets, estimated that HP would have to make about 100 small bets to get to six breakthrough ideas. Writers for the humor publication the Onion, meanwhile, estimate that to discover eighteen headlines each week requires trying about 600 possibilities, a 3 percent success rate. You learn from each little bet, so it’s hard to quantify success or failure in black and white percentage terms, but the point is, if you want to do something new, you can’t expect your first little bet to become a breakthrough. It’s a volume and iteration game. The best entrepreneurs I’ve known think of learning the way most people think of failure.”

As it relates to our plasma development programs, don’t expect that the first process out the gate will work.  Give it your “best shot” isn’t going to yield success, unless you are just super lucky.  And with the year of the Black Water Snake, need to have a lucky element of “Water” to obtain fortune this year!  If you are a fire sign, not such a lucky year for you.  Ensure this year that you invest in multiple small facilities for storage of your firecrackers versus just one.

This is the extent of my fortune telling!  Back to R&D and scientific methods.

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12. December 2012   1:47 am
Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Belmont, CA

The last few months have been a whirlwind of conferences, speaking engagements, trade shows, customer visits, lots of meetings, a few visits to our North American headquarters (Chi town), Canadian offices, the mother ship (Germany), and a sprinkling of board meetings.

One of the highlights was attending the Biointerface 2012 meeting in Dublin. http://www.surfaces.org/

(Oh, when in Dublin, I highly recommend dining at the Winding Stair for delicious tastes of fresh unadulterated seafood  http://winding-stair.com/.  MAKE A RESERVATION or be prepared with a warm coat as you walk around waiting for your 10 pm table.)

The folks at UCD and Surfaces.org pulled together an excellent forum with a tremendous focus on use of plasma for “medicine” and let us in to the labs at UCD for a tour to include a demonstration of our Openair tool. http://www.ucd.ie/surfaces/facilities.htm

I have pages and pages of notes from the meetings and want to share a few stand out quotes and notes relevant to our technology:

“Interface influences failures”

Mr. Reto Luginbuehl (RMS Foundation, Switzerland)
The impacts on interface include: biology, modulus, surface chemistry, wear, morphology, infection, roughness to name just a few. It is so important to remember this when designing a program. Everything needs to be tested…not just surface energy with water. Need to understand all types of interactions with the surface for a successful product design.

Dr. Anna Belu, Medtronic, had an excellent case study about contamination which hit close to home as plasma is often used to remove UNEXPECTED contamination from various sources such as packaging or residue from gloves.

There were excellent poster presentations. One standout was from UCD. They report superphobic (150deg+) surfaces via atmospheric plasma using siloxane precursors. Sounds like there are some stability issues with the surface, but nonetheless, the advances in AP are promising.

Professor Buddy Ratner provided the keynote on “Emerging Biointerface Solutions – Translating in vitro results to the In Vivo Environment” and provided one of the best quotes of the conference (I don’t recall who originally make the statement, so Prof. Ratner can take the cred.):

“Engineering is the instrument of civilization”

His talks are always interesting and he is a dynamic speaker.

Prof. David Grainger followed with his very passionate presentation on correlating in vitro and in vivo as well – specifically for anti microbial. His point about understating patient genetic profiles/genetic dispositions as part of the solution in reducing infection is the future. Clinical testing / device testing (pre market) is limited to a specific population thus doesn’t capture the true effectiveness of the device. Unfortunately setting up an in vitro test protocol to screen our diverse population is not feasible due to $$$. So his point, well taken, is if the FDA will allow products that are proven SAFE on the market, the efficacy data will build as the product as used.

Mr. Bob Ward, ExThera (former PTG now DSM), presented on controlling surface chemistry for treating bacteremia and sepsis. Of interest to me were his comments about how surface density is greatly affected by structure. An import variable in plasma process development programs is appreciating the structure and surface area of a device and result on surface chemistry.

Dr. Marcela Bilek, University of Sydney, presented on “Bioactivation of surfaces using embedded radicals.” Great talk on use of plasma for infusion (my interpretation) of reactive species into bulk of polymers. She notes metals as well, but sounds like she is creating an interface on top of the metal. An important point of her talk and others is that wet chemistries can be timely, toxic, slow and expensive — reinforcing the benefit of plasma as an alternative. In some examples, wet chemistry processes take upwards of 60 hours. This can often be reduced or replaced in full by a plasma process at 5 to 10 or 20 minutes.

Overall it was a thought provoking conference and a great opportunity to network with the surfaces community. I look forward to next year!

This will probably be my last entry for the year….off to Germany for our annual sales meeting and back home for some R&D, OOPS, I mean R&R.
Happy new year!

Collegue Graham Porcas

Openair Plasma in Dublin, Colleague Graham Porcas demonstrating the equipment

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6. August 2012   4:53 am
Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Belmont, CA

Low pressure plasma is a controlled method for modifying the surfaces of materials. Our core competency is in modifying polymers. We’ve modified almost every type of polymer from silicones to fluoropolymers. These products range in size from nano-powders to 5 foot wide webs and membranes. Our company has been modifying life science materials for over 30 years. These include drug delivery platforms, fluidic devices, assay tools, ophthalmic Devices, implantable engineering polymers, stents, leads and their delivery devices.

The most practiced technology is activation (or functionalization) for subsequent adhesion attachment. In a functionalization process, the plasma species energy is used to break surface layer molecular bonds and leads to an altered surface chemistry. The plasma chemistry (and the substrate) drives the resulting functional groups.

Our laboratory includes 100s of different chemistries derived from gases and vapors from liquids. We’ve conducted sublimation work as well. The technology routinely is used for introducing chemistries that traditionally are conducted via wet chemistry. The technology offers tremendous controls and a short process cycle (< 15 minutes).

For the life sciences, typical functionalizations include:
• Hydroxyl
• Carboxylic
• Carbonyl
• Amine
• Vinyl
• Glycidyl
• Thiol

These groups can be closely coupled to a surface or distanced by chains.

Customers request these groups for attachment to:

• Amino acids, peptide attachment
• Coatings to resist biofilm attachment, coagulation
• Antimicrobials
• Biomolecular immobilizations
• Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
• Hyaluronic acid
• Polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA)
• Surfactant coatings
• Hydrogels

We also practice thin film depositions (all organic). This process is called Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD).

Typical coatings are around 40 – 4000 Angstrom thick. These coatings are dry. Coatings include:

• Polystyrene, Polyethylene
• Fluoropolymer, fluoroacrylates
• Siloxane (also via Openair)
• PEGylated (Tetraglyme)
• Aminated
• Polyacrylate
• Hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA)
• Ethylene Oxide

Customers request these coatings for:
• Interfaces (or tie layers)
• Hydrophobicity
• Oleophobicity
• Lubricity/decreased COF (dry)
• Biocompatibility
• Functionalization
• Chemical resistance
to name a few.

Primarily we modify devices and this does include combination devices. As polymers are being used more and more for target therapies, plasma has become a viable means for modifying surfaces to change release capabilities or modify other surface properties.

The technology is versatile. Controlled. Inexpensive. There is no waste. It is environmentally and workplace safe.

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Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Belmont, CA

Editorial May 2012

Process Design Step 1:

Variables to consider when designing a surface modification program

 

I lied, partially.

I said that my next blog would be a trip report (sadly, Dyana said it was overcast) and power of plasma for modification of materials for the life sciences industry.   I’m not ready to jump into specific applications, rather want to start with some of the basics to a successful surface modification program.

I’ll start with Step 1.  Q&A.

The beginning of any lab development program typically involves a thorough Q&A session.   At the minimum, I want to know:

 

1.  Substrate

2.  Product environment

3.  Desired surface performance goal

 

The success, based on my experience, of a surface modification program relies on a thorough (if possible) understanding of these three items as 1 and 2 greatly impact 3.

For each question, there are 10s if not 100s of sub-questions that can shift outcome considerably.   I spoke about some of these recently at Hantel Technology  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZemVc790oQ  and am summarizing a partial list of variables for each question below.

 

  1. SUBSTRATE.  Tell me about (I’m polymer focused):
    1. Resin selection/Metal properties
    2. Composite properties
    3. Manufacturing practice (molded, extruded, cast).  Are you starting with a machined part for R&D and then possibly considering molding for production.  We may talk about molecular weight distribution as well.
    4. Cure mechanism
    5. Cure temperatures
    6. Hardness (durometer)/crystallinity
    7. Topography
    8. Tacticity
    9. Additives (stabilizers, pigments, nucleating agents, plasticizers, etc)
    10. Propensity for migration of additives
    11. Propensity for molecular rotation
    12. Finishes
    13. Mold release materials
    14. Machining debris
    15. Moisture retain/absorption/adsorption
    16. Cleanliness (and how is the substrate cleaned prior to plasma)
    17. Manufacturing controls for said substrate
    18. Throughput targets

 

  1. ENVIRONMENT.  Once treated, please tell me about the next steps in processing and environment as these variables may impact surface performance and stability:
    1. See Item #1.9 above.  Bloom, migration of Internal impurities
    2. Adhesive technique (if bonding) and cure mechanism
    3. Potential for oxidation
    4. Chemical exposure
    5. Sterilization technique
    6. Subsequent assembly step (are you heat sealing?)
    7. Subsequent cleaning steps and techniques (are you IPA wiping part 100X times during assembly?)
    8. Handling (glove selection and practices)
    9. Storage (Packaging materials, Temperatures)

 

  1. SURFACE PROPERTIES.  What do you want as we have many variables to consider to provide the desired outcome.  Rather than listing the myriad of applications we practice, I’ll focus on variables that we consider in designing an experimental plan.

 

    1. Type of equipment (Corona, Atmospheric, Low Pressure)
    2. Steps and type of process (Cleaning, Etching, Activation, Functionalization, PECVD, Grafting, Crosslinking)
    3. Chemistry (gas, liquid vapor, sublimated solids, combinations).
    4.  Temperature of substrate, chamber, liquid/solid
    5. Pressure (flow driven, throttled, pumping capacity)
    6. Fixturing and fixture materials (does it contribute to dark space?)
    7. Power (continuous, pulsed, duty cycle, frequency)
    8. Time (3o seconds or 10 minutes)

BUT WAIT.  There is more!

VALIDATION TECHNIQUE/SURFACE ANALYSIS

Even the choice of how to validate the surface can impact the results.  Our chief technologist, Steve Kaplan, loves to say “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”   It is not unusual for a customer to overlook the success of the process by improper selection of the validation method.    Test the product in the ultimate application.  Techniques used and considered at our laboratories include:

 

  • Surface energy testing
  • Dyne-cm, contact angle
  • fluid choice
  • Adhesion testing
  • Wear and abrasion testing
  • Friction testing
  • Hardness testing
  • Surface analysis
  • X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • AFM Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Chemical resistance
  • Gas permeation / vapor barrier testing

 

This list isn’t to overwhelm.   I don’t expect answers to all of these questions nor do we screen every possible combination of variables.  We know where to start if you can provide us with the basics about  1 (Substrate), 2 (Environment of use) and 3 (Desired surface performance) so that we can design efficiently and effectively the best surface for your application.

Next blog…no promises.

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Category: LIFE SCIENCES / SOLAR
8. March 2012   11:25 pm
Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Belmont, CA

Hello friends and followers,

I received a quick note from Andy Stecher (PTS President) plus have been following the news that a large solar storm is headed towards earth.   Anchorage Daily News reports:   http://www.adn.com/2012/03/08/2358908/biggest-solar-storm-in-years-hits.html.  Huffington Post has a nice update as well athttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/aurora-borealis-2012-solar-flare-storm_n_1332255.html.  In addition, I have been watching the sky in the evening on my commute home as Venus and Jupiter have been quite close to the moon the past few nights.

I still owe you all the report from Dyana’s visit toAlaska(and use of plasma for modifying devices) but this late breaking news may allow many in the northern latitudes to experience the same without a trip toAlaska.

Go out and watch the sky tonight!

Cheers, Mikki

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Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Belmont, CA

Editorial January 2012

Welcome to my blog. I specialize in the use of low pressure plasma for modification of materials for the life sciences industry.

A good friend, Dyana, left on a spur of the moment trip Tuesday, January 24, to view the Aurora Borealis in Alaska. According to the Geophysical Institute’s Aurora Forecast website (http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/2012/01/24) Tuesday was a level 5 “extreme” night for viewing. Dyana, an avid surfer, is always following the wave report, so found it no surprise that there are people out there following the aurora forecast. Pretty cool!

After getting over some jealousy about her special trip opportunity and spontaneous ability (thankfully, the jealousy was only a passing emotion), I remembered pressing my face against the small very cold airplane window, while standing in the rear of the plane, when flying home over Greenland this winter and seeing a fantastic green light show.

Every time I get on a plane knowing that the flight path takes the plane (and lucky passengers) over high latitudes, I wish for this opportunity. This is the first time the wish has come true. The contrast of the green glow against the pristine white ice covered mountains was indescribable and just surreal. (Thankfully most of the folks on the plane were sleeping so I had an interrupted peaceful private viewing.)

Every working day, I can also walk into our lab and watch the same spectacular light glows in our manufactured systems. The aurora is the inspiration for our company and varieties of fabulous images (thanks to Dirk at http://borealis2000.com/) are used in our marketing materials. Check out http://www.plasmatechsystems.com/default.asp for a couple of his images.

It amazes me that our entire business is based on harnessing (as our founder likes to say) “the power of plasma.”

Nature inspiring man.

Next post: Dy’s trip report and “the power of plasma” for modifying medical devices.

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