Event Location
2400 EB


Dr. Allen L. Garner

Assistant Professor
Nuclear Engineering
Purdue University
Monday, January 29, 2018
3:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m.
2400 EB

“Pulsed Power and Plasmas: Electromagnetism for Medicine and Agriculture”

While pulsed power and plasmas are well established in defense and security, only recently have their applications in medical and agricultural applications become of greater interest. Recent investigations have explored applying these technologies to alter biological and cellular function for applications ranging from drug delivery to cancer treatment. The most common and mature example is electroporation, in which microsecond to millisecond duration electric pulses (EPs) of a few kilovolts per centimeter in field strength facilitate the delivery of normally membrane impermeantmolecules and ions across cell membranes. This facilitates multiple technologies, including sterilization, gene therapy, and electrochemotherapy. Intense submicrosecondEPs (NSEPs) can additionally manipulate intracellular organelles and cellular function, such as inducing apoptosis in tumors or activating platelets ex vivo for wound healing. Similarly, the reactive species of plasmas may permeabilizeplasma membranes directly by bombarding the membrane or causing a buildup of charge at the plasma membrane.

This seminar outlines my group’s integration of analytic approaches, simulations, and experiments to elucidate these phenomena and explore novel applications of these technologies. First, I will briefly summarize the physics, biology, and application space for EP effects and detail our use of EPs for activating platelets for wound healing. I will then demonstrate the application of mathematical modeling to predict and elucidate the effects of various electric field profiles, including NSEPs and bipolar EPs on both membrane and cellular level effects. I will conclude by discussing ongoing work on cold atmospheric pressure plasmas for treating liquids and semi-solid foods in packages and our use of emission spectroscopy to assess the plasma species formed to help guide system design.

Prof. Allen Garner received his BS in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois in 1996, MSE in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 1997, MS in electrical engineering from Old Dominion University in 2003, and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 2006. From 1997 to 2003, he served on active duty in the U. S. Navy as a nuclear trained submarine officer. From 2006 to 2012, Prof. Garner was an electromagnetic physicist at GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY. Since August 2012, he has been an Assistant Professor in Nuclear Engineering at Purdue University and is the Paul C. ZmolaScholar of Nuclear Engineering. He is also a Commander in the United States Navy Reserves. Prof. Garner is a Senior Member of IEEE and recipient of the 2016 IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Society Early Achievement Award. He has also been awarded two Meritorious Service Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.


Faculty Host: Dr. Peng Zhang (

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