2018 Kunhardt Prize Winner Announced

Anya Parker-Lentz wins $500 for the most innovative project by a student associated with the Applied Physics department

aluminum oxide bulb

The aluminum oxide bulb ionizing the air above the surface to be cleaned.

" "Anya Parker-Lentz, under the guidance of Tandon Vice Dean for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Professor of Applied Physics Kurt Becker and Professor Wei-Dong Zhu of St. Peter’s University, has conceived of a novel Helium-filled aluminum oxide bulb that can serve as a surface cleaning device without an external gas source and without an internal electrode. The device consists of an evacuated aluminum oxide tube, backfilled with helium and sealed.  A powered electrode, placed sufficiently far from the tube, ignites the helium plasma inside the bulb. The charge accumulation on the surface of the tube is sufficient to produce an electric field outside the plasma bulb that ionizes the surrounding air between the surface to be cleaned and the aluminum oxide bulb. This novel device provides a method of cleaning various types of surfaces with no risk of surface damage to the powered electrode, and it won Parker-Lentz (who happens to be a skilled singer-songwriter in addition to scientist) Tandon’s Erich Kunhardt Prize for Innovative Senior Project.