B.E., Engineering Physics, 2005, Tsinghua University

M.E., Engineering Physics, 2007, Tsinghua University

Ph.D., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 2013, Princeton University


Wenting Sun received his B.E. and M.E. degrees in Engineering Physics from Tsinghua University, Beijing where his studies focused on non-equilibrium plasmas. After that, he graduated from Princeton University, department of mechanical and aerospace engineering working on plasma assisted combustion and combustion kinetics. Shortly after graduation, he joined Georgia Tech in 2013. His primary research interests lie in a broad range of reacting flows (combustion & plasmas) and propulsion systems. His current research activities involve plasma assisted combustion, chemical kinetics of different fuels, and laser diagnostics and spectroscopy of reacting flow systems.

Research Areas and Descriptors

Plasmas, Combustions, Plasma assisted combustion

Laser diagnostics and spectroscopy, Chemical kinetics of fuels

Kinetic mechanism reduction and multi-time scale modeling


Dr. Wenting Sun’s research interest lies in a broad range of reacting flow system. His current research spans on:

(1) Plasma Assisted Combustion:

Owing to its unique capability to produce reactive species and heat, plasma (electrical discharge) is a promising way to modify the dynamics and reaction pathways of combustion to reduce emissions, improve engine performance, and achieve high-speed air-breathing propulsion. It will also lead to the new technologies for future novel combustors. In this topic, the research focus is to investigate the coupling of plasma kinetics and fuel oxidation and this kinetic process on the effect of flame dynamics.

(2) Advanced Diagnostics for Fossil and Renewable Fuels Combustion:

With the increasing concerns of energy sustainability and renewability, clean combustion and combustion with renewable fuels become to be more and more challenging. To overcome these challenges, it is critical to understand the combustion kinetics of both fossil and renewable fuels. Different techniques, such as laser diagnostic and spectroscopy, molecular beam mass spectrometry, are going to be developed and employed to study the kinetic process in combustion systems including trace species detection, pollutant formation and so on. This topic is very multi-disciplinary requiring knowledge of applied physics, laser spectroscopy, and chemical kinetics and can be extended to upper atmosphere and environmental research.

(3) Nano-scale Energy Conversion and Synthesis of Functional Materials:

The properties of nano-materials can be engineered by tuning synthesis conditions such as temperature, pressure, residence time, precursors, and concentrations of different species. Both combustion and plasma provide controllable ways (oxidation and non-oxidation) to engineer and mass produce new functional materials. The focus of this topic is to develop combustion/plasma coupled synthesis methods for nano-materials for clean energy.


Bernard Lewis Fellowship, the Combustion Institute, 2012

Distinguished Paper, the 33rd International Symposium on Combustion, 2011

Selected Publications

[1]. W. Sun, Y. Ju, “Non-equilibrium plasma-assisted combustion: A review of recent progress” 2013 Journal of Plasma and Fusion Research, 89(4), 209-219 (invited paper)

[2]. B. Brumfield, W. Sun, Y. Ju, G. Wysocki “Detection of HO2 by Faraday rotation spectroscopy” 2013 J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 4(6), 872-876

[3]. W. Sun, S. H. Won, T. Ombrello, C. Carter, Y. Ju, “Direct ignition and the S-curve transition by in situ nano-second pulsed discharge in methane/oxygen/helium counterflow flame” 2013 Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 34, 847-855

[4]. H. Guo, W. Sun, F. M. Haas, T. Farouk, F. Dryer, Y. Ju, “Measurements of H2O2 in low temperature dimethyl ether oxidation” 2013 Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 34, 573-581

[5]. W. Sun, M. Uddi, S. H. Won, T. Ombrello, C. Carter, Y. Ju, “Kinetic effects of non-equilibrium plasma-assisted methane oxidization on diffusion flame extinction limits” 2012 Combustion and Flame, 159(1) 221-229

[6]. W. Sun, M. Uddi, T. Ombrello, S. H. Won, C. Carter, Y. Ju, “Effects of non-equilibrium plasma discharge on counterflow diffusion flame extinction” 2011 Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 33, 3211-3218 

[7]. W. Sun, Z. Chen, X. Gou, Y. Ju, “A path flux analysis method for the reduction of detailed chemical kinetic mechanisms” 2010 Combustion and Flame, 157(7) 1298-1307

[8]. W. Sun, G. Li, H. B. Wang, H. P. Li, C. Y. Bao, S. Zeng, “Characteristics of atmospheric-pressure, radio-frequency glow discharges operated with argon added ethanol” 2007 Journal of Applied Physics 101(12) 123302

[9]. W. Sun, T. R. Liang, H. B. Wang, H. P. Li, C. Y. Bao, “The back diffusion effect of air on the discharge characteristics of atmospheric-pressure radio-frequency glow discharges using bare metal electrodes” 2007 Plasma Sources Science and Technology 16 290-296