About Dayne Swearer's Work
As a Packard Fellow, I will explore the science and engineering of the fourth state of matter – plasmas – and the opportunities these exotic, chemically reactive environments may hold for converting stubborn molecules like CO2 into useful materials and products. Plasmas can be easily created and emerge once the electrons that hold molecules together are ripped away by strong electromagnetic forces. One special category of plasmas occurs when the free electrons possess temperatures thousands of degrees hotter than the surrounding gas molecules. My research will explore how these out-of-equilibrium electrons and molecules in ‘cold’ plasmas can be harnessed for more efficient and sustainable chemical reactions. This work will combine fundamental studies on the chemical physics of plasmas and their interactions with different solid and liquid interfaces, with engineered lab-scale reactors to help accelerate the electrification and decarbonization of the chemical industry.