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Dr Jane Dai is excited by the newly opened plasma research laboratory at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus.
She is even more excited by the team of researchers that will use it.
“We promote a team spirit in which different experts work together harmoniously,” she says enthusiastically at the start of a conversation in which the word we dominates.
“In our plasma team, everyone supports, shares with and helps each other; like a big family.
“Everyone has his/her responsibility for the area where they can utilise their strengths, showing their leadership.
“We are committed to the research that we love and committed to team work, greatly valuing each of the members. We provide a platform technology for research at the Institute and the University and with external collaborators nationally and internationally.
“Our vision is that experts in different fields working together in harmony is the key to reaching our goals and making breakthroughs!”
Those breakthroughs in surface modification and nanofabrication, the areas in which Dr Dai and her team are working at Deakin, will produce a wide range of beneficial applications in energy, biomedicine, composites, transport and textiles.
For example in biomedicine the surface of an implant can be changed so that the body doesn’t recognise it as foreign.
A guided tour of the laboratory quickly reveals a host of technologies and techniques, many of them unique.
“We have combined plasma and thermal energy by putting a plasma source inside a furnace,” Dr Dai said.
“This has allowed us to dope other elements into materials or to control the direction of nanomaterial growth.
“We have a stirring plasma system that tumbles nanoparticles inside plasma. This allows uniform treatment of difficult materials, like nanotubes.
“We have a nanosecond pulsed plasma system which allows us to uniformly treat materials at atmospheric pressure.
“We are now developing liquid plasma technology using this system for specific biomedical applications, fabrication of micro/nano-devices, and waste water treatment.
“We have an electrodeless plasma system, which allows gradient deposition and can alternate between a pulsed plasma and continuous wave plasma.
“We have shown that continuous followed by pulsed is the best method for firmly attaching new functional groups to the surface with minimal contamination.
“We have developed a new system that combines physical vapour deposition with plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition in two-connected chambers.
“This system has multi-functional capabilities and can produce new and higher quality materials without interface contamination.
“It was made to our design and we believe that it is the only one of its kind in the world.”
Dr Dai and her team work collaboratively with colleagues within the Institute for Frontier Materials, elsewhere within Deakin and with outside organisations both nationally and internationally.
The make-up of the plasma research group has it well-equipped to work at the international level.
Members come from India, Mexico, China, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Geelong!
Find out more about Dr Dai and her research team, and their research.