College of Science and Technology

Florida A&M University
Center for Plasma Science and Technology
2077 East Paul Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32310
(850) 599-3943

In 2005, the Florida A&M Department of Physics established its presence at Innovation Park, a university-related research and development campus in Tallahassee, investing in the Center for Plasma Science and Technology (CePAST). The center has become one of the premier research facilities in the state of Florida; its scope was and is the study of plasmas, substances which are generally considered the ‘fourth state of matter’.

CePaST is home to a highly successful team of faculty, students, and researchers dedicated to new science and novel applications of theoretical, experimental, and computational plasma physics.  Major programs include:

•    High Energy Density Physics

•    Remote sensing research to enhance the nation’s defensive capabilities

•    Fusion and plasma research 

•    Developing advanced materials for use in defense and technological applications

•    Researching efficient computational algorithms in support of plasma and photonic physics

 The center is the flagship of FAMU’s commitment to comprehensive research excellence with technological impact.

The 32,000-sqft facilities include: student study areas, a computer cluster, a laser plasma lab and space for Florida’s first fusion facility. Faculty members, along with graduate and undergraduate student researchers are dedicated to innovative  applications of theoretical, experimental and computational plasma physics.

The strategic mission of the FAMU Center for Plasma Science and Technology (CePaST) is to produce world-class scientific and technological innovation in theoretical, experimental, and computational plasma physics and photonics.  The goals of the center are to:

•    Provide tools to enhance the nation’s security against domestic and foreign threats

•    Support the development of alternative sources of clean and sustainable energy

•    Conduct basic research on plasmas and advanced materials under extreme conditions

•    Provide a pool of highly trained men and women to broaden the nation’s scientific workforce.

These goals will be achieved through a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary research activities inclusive of research on remote sensing; fusion; carbon-based nanoscience; advanced algorithms; laser-matter interactions; and fundamental atomic and molecular quantum mechanical phenomena.

Center for Plasma Science and Technology
Laboratory Research Focus Listed by Professor

Dr. Charles Weatherford, Director of CePaST

Theoretical and computational studies in:
•    High Energy Density Physics and Chemistry
•    Simulation of laser-plasma interactions;
•    Quantum control and machine learning;
•    Electron molecule, photon molecule interactions;
•    Bound states of molecules;
•    Computation of material properties for nano-sensors;
•    Energy storage and photonics;
•    Quantum information.

Dr. Lewis Johnson, Assistant Director of CePaST

•    Laser- Matter Interactions
•    Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)
•    Physics of LIBS
•    Application of LIBS for Hazardous Material Detection (Nuclear, Explosive, Chemical, Biological)
•    Chemometric Analysis
•    STEM Education

Dr. Richard Appartaim

Experimental plasma physics with emphasis on:
•    High energy density laboratory plasmas
•    Soft x-ray emission from microsecond x-pinches
•    Axial jet formation characteristics with relevance to astrophysics
•    Ultra-fast plasma diagnostics

Dr. Kalayu Belay

•    Mechanical characterization of carbon nanotube (CNT) yarns
•    Electrical characterization CNT yarns
•    Investigating piezoresistive response of CNT yarns
•    Detection of damage in composite materials using CNT yarns
•    Stain measurement using CNT yarns

Dr. Dawn Lewis

•    Elemental analysis of environmental samples using laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). Presently our focus is the elemental analysis of samples of petrified wood for Colorado.

Dr. Ephrem Mezonlin

Experimental Physics
•    High density plasmas studies on Fusion devices
•    Compact Neutral Particle Analyzer for measurements ion temperature measurements on MST
•    New diagnostics for electron and ion temperature on STPX
•    Search for renewal sources of energy

Dr. Bidhan Saha

Theoretical and Computational Atomic and Molecular Physics studies:
•    Electron and positron impact Elastic and Inelastic collisions
•    Charge exchange phenomena involving Atoms, Molecules and Solids
•    Resonance and Virtual states
•    e - molecule scattering including rotational and vibrational states
•    3-body breakup processes

Dr. Carol Scarlett

Studying nuclear and particle physics experimentally to uncover explanations for currently observed phenomena such as Dark Matter, Dark Energy and evidence for matter-antimatter asymmetries.

Of Interest:
•    Experimental searches for Dark Matter Candidates (e.g. axion particles)
•    Cross sectional measurements of positron-neutron beta decays
•    Materials that lead to random walking through birefringent interactions
•    Quantum Computing

Experimental Techniques:
•    Development of Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) detectors
•    Mirror Cavity amplification of optical effects
•    High Powered Laser production of Antimatter
•    Birefringence of materials for use in computing components

Dr. James Strohaber

Dr. Komalavalli Thirunavukkuarasu

Probing interplay of spin, charge, lattice and orbital degrees of freedom in functional materials under extreme conditions such as high magnetic field, high pressure and low temperatures using spectroscopy

Materials of interest:
•    Nano-materials
•    Molecular magnets
•    Multiferroics
•    Correlated electron systems
•    Energy materials

Experimental Techniques employed:
•    Raman scattering and photoluminescence
•    Broadband infrared spectroscopy
•    THz spectroscopy
•    Multi-frequency Electron Paramagnetic Resonance

Dr. Ronald Williams

STPX Spheromak Lab:
Experimental, Computational and Theoretical studies on:
•    Applications of magnetic field confined plasmas to fusion energy production.
•    Magnetic reconnection, and turbulence for fusion and astrophysical applications.
•    Development of diagnostic techniques for measuring plasma parameters, magnetic fields, laser beam interactions and particle flux in a spheromak plasma.
•    The evolution of the spheromak plasma and magnetic fields beginning in the plasma gun and evolving the relaxed plasma state.
•    High energy density physics and applications to energy production and astrophysics, and modeling in laboratory scaled experiments.

Contact Info

1610 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.
University Commons, Room 105
Tallahassee, FL 32307

P: (850) 412-5978
F: (850) 412-7303