David Staack


I have moved on to new places I am now an

Assistant Professor at Texas A&M

Please find me there  --- Thanks, David


Email: dstaack@drexel.edu

Lab Phone: 215-895-2155

Home Phone: 215-787-0470

Lab: Hess Engineering Building 112G







My wife and I on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum




Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Mechanical Engineering, September 2004 – December 2008


Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, January 2001 – August 2004


University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Aerospace Engineering, September 1995 - January 2001


Current Research


nanoscale Plasma Discharges

Advisors: Alexander Fridman, Gary Friedman, (Drexel Plasma Institute) and Yury Gogotsi (Drexel Nanotechnology Institute)


In this study we utilize a variation of the corona type discharge in liquid water wherein the power level of the discharge (~ 0.1mJ/pulse) is significantly less than that typically studied. As such a very small non-thermal plasma discharge is created. As such the non-thermal plasma created can be applied to more delicate applications such as diagnostics of liquids in vivo. Thus far I have 1) characterized the discharge by measured the voltage waveforms and images characterizing the discharge prior to and after bubble growth. 2) Studied the mechanism of bubble formation. 3) Attained Time resolved optical emission spectra of the discharge indicate the non-thermal nature of the discharge during the initial stage of bubble formation. 4) Used emission spectra to diagnose several biological liquids. At this current state of development the discharge is able to indicate the concentration of salt ions in blood plasma and metal contaminants at ppm concentrations.

10 mm


Image of nanoplasma (electrical discharge) in human blood plasma. Images are (a) nanoplasma for short pulse durationsand (b) microplasma created using longer duration pulses. The orange color is indicative of the Na content in the blood.

Emission spectra from nanoplasma in blood plasma. The peaks indicate concentration of K, and Na, in the liquid.


Atmospheric Pressure Micro Glow Discharge

Advisors: Bakhtier Farouk, Alexander Fridman, Alexander Gutsol (Drexel Plasma Institute)


Atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasma discharges represent a lower cost alternative to current vacuum based plasma technologies used for micro-fabrication. This research involves experimental studies of micron-sized atmospheric plasma discharges using DC, RF, and microwave excitation. The plasmas are visually and electrically characterized for a variety of operating conditions and gases. Optical emission spectroscopy was used to measure the rotational, vibrational, and excitation temperatures. The micro-plasmas are being used for plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition and sputter deposition of thin films. Mask-less micro-patterning has also been demonstrated. Deposited diamond like carbon films are being characterized by profilometry and Raman spectroscopy. This work is supported by the NSF. See publications below for more information.


Pic3   Pic1   Pic2   LongGlow2

DC atmospheric pressure glow discharge in air at gap spacings between 100 mm and 3 mm


Temperature measurement for microplasma in air. 2 mA discharge current, 300μm electrode spacing. SPECAIR used to simulate observed spectra. Bestfit determines Trot and Tvib from N2  2nd positive transitions.





Glow discharge in atmospheric pressure Hydrogen-Methane mixture. Note the striations in the positive column of the glow discharge.

Demonstration on maskless micropattering. Patterns traced onto silicon substrate using air microplasma and computer controlled micropositioner.






RF (13.6MHz) discharges in atmospheric pressure Argon. The discharge transition from a mode with significant volume ionization to g mode with significant sheaths at a critical current density.


Previous Research



Plasma wall interaction in Hall Thrusters

Advisors: Nathaniel J. Fisch, Yevgeny Raitses (Hall Thruster Experiment, PPPL).


Experimental study of the effects of plasma wall interactions on the performance of Hall thrusters for the Hall Thruster Experiment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Research focused on the effects of changes in the secondary electron emission and conductive properties of the channel wall material and on the development of plasma diagnostic techniques for measurements inside a hall thruster. Work includes experience with plasma discharges, plasma material interactions, plasma diagnostic techniques, cryogenic and other high vacuum facilities, multistage high-acceleration positioning systems, electronic measurement circuits, data acquisition software, and data analysis software.


PPPL Hall thruster in operation


                LIF studies of Interacting Rarefied and Continuum Flows

                Advisors: James C. McDaniel (Aerospace Research Lab, University of Virginia).


Experimental study of the interaction between rarefied and continuum flow is a reaction control system. Measurements were compared to computer simulations of reaction control systems made by NASA Langley. Work included the building and designing of a vacuum based hypersonic wind tunnel and development of laser induced iodine fluorescence techniques to measure temperature, pressure, and velocity.


                Virtual Reality Program Development

                Advisors: Randy Pausch (Stage 3 Research Group, Carnegie Mellon University).


Programmed virtual reality environments and helped develop Alice 3D graphics software. Developed content for virtual reality experiments to compare human perceptions of real and virtual worlds.


Journal Publications

  1. Staack D, Farouk B, Gutsol A, Fridman A, “DC normal glow discharges in atmospheric pressure atomic and molecular gases,” accepted Plasma Source Science and Technology, Dec. 2007. [Impact Factor 2.35]
  2. Staack D, Friedman G, Gutsol A, Fridman A, “Preliminary evaluation of a pulsed corona discharges for characterization of biological liquids”, accepted “Plasma Assisted Decontamination of Biological and Chemical Agents”, Editors: S. Guceri and V. Smirnov, Springer, NY, 2008. [Refereed Book Article]
  3. Staack D, Farouk B, Gutsol A, Fridman A, “Spatially resolved temperature measurements of atmospheric pressure DC microplasmas,” IEEE transactions on plasma science, Vol. 35 (5), 1448-1455, Oct. 2007.
  4. Farouk T, Farouk B, Staack D, Gutsol A, Fridman A, “Modeling of direct current micro-plasma discharges in atmospheric pressure hydrogen”, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, Vol. 16 (3), 619-634, Aug.2007. [Impact Factor 2.35]
  5. Staack D, Farouk B, Gutsol A, Fridman A, “Spectroscopic studies and rotational and vibrational temperature measurements of atmospheric pressure normal glow plasma discharges in air,” Plasma Source Science and Technology, Vol. 15 (4), 818-827, Nov. 2006. [Impact Factor 2.35, Times Cited 2]
  6. Farouk T, Farouk B, Staack D, Gutsol A, Fridman A, “Simulation of dc atmospheric pressure argon microglow-discharge,” Plasma Source Science and Technology, Vol. 15 (4), 676-688, Nov. 2006 [Impact Factor 2.35, Times Cited 1]
  7. Raitses Y, Staack D, Dunaevsky A, Fisch N J, “Operation of a segmented Hall thruster with low-sputtering carbon-velvet electrodes,” Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 99 (3), Art. No. 036103, Feb. 1, 2006. [Impact Factor 2.32, Times Cited 1]
  8. Raitses Y, Smirnov A, Staack D, Fisch N J, “Measurements of secondary electron emission effects in theHall thruster discharge,” Physics of Plasmas Vol. 13 (1), Art. No. 014502, Jan, 2006. [Impact Factor 2.26, Times Cited 3]
  9. Staack D, Farouk B, Gutsol A, Fridman A, “Characterization of a dc atmospheric pressure normal glow discharge,” Plasma Source Science & Technology, Vol. 14 (4), 700-711, Nov, 2005.[ Impact Factor 2.35,Times Cited 14]
  10. Raitses Y, Staack D, Smirnov A, Fisch N J, “Space charge saturated sheath regime and electron temperature saturation in Hall thrusters,” Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 12 (7), Art. No. 073507, July 2005. [Impact Factor 2.26, Times Cited 24]
  11. Raitses Y, Staack D, Keidar M, Fisch N J, “Electron-wall interaction in Hall thrusters,” Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 12 (5), Art. No. 057104, May 2005. [Impact Factor 2.26, Times Cited 25]
  12. Staack D, Raitses Y, Fisch NJ, “Temperature gradient in Hall thrusters,” Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 84 (16), 3028-3030, Apr 19, 2004. [Impact Factor 3.98, Times Cited 15]
  13. Staack D, Raitses Y, Fisch NJ, “Shielded electrostatic probe for non-perturbing plasma measurements in Hall thrusters,” Review of Scientific Instruments 75 (2), 393-399, Feb 2004. [Impact Factor 1.54, Times Cited 10]
  14. Raitses Y, Keidar M, Staack D, Fisch N J, “Effects of segmented electrode in Hall current plasma thrusters,” Journal of Applied Physics Vol. 92 (9), 4906-4911, Nov 1, 2002. [Impact Factor 2.32, Times Cited 28]