Dr. Dennis R. Peterson

1 Hillside Dr., Malvern, PA, 19355 610 644 1022 Cell 484 881 1785


BSME, MSME, The University of Wyoming

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Thesis: “Electrothermal-Chemical Synthesis of Nanocrystalline Ceramics”

Licensed Professional Engineer

Security Clearances: Los Alamos “Q” Clearance. Department of Defense “Secret” Clearance.

See DennisPeterson.com for a comprehensive resume.


Conception, initiation, and execution, with significant results, of challenging, innovative, hardware-oriented projects of all kinds. Novel machining processes. Hypervelocity electromagnetic cannons. Nanocrystalline materials. Success results from a hands-on approach and deep engagement in all aspects of a project: proposing, planning, design, fabrication, testing, iterating, presenting, …

Synthes, Peterson Science & Technology, Nanotechnologies, Institute for Advanced Technology, Center for Electromechanics, Los Alamos, Coors


I invented, commercialized Electrothermal Synthesis, a competitive, versatile new process for producing nanocrystalline materials in commercial quantities. Electrothermal Synthesis has attracted $20 million in venture capital and has been in commercial operation for a decade. Applicable to carbon, metals, alloys, intermetallics, oxides, nitrides, carbides, oxynitrides, carbonitrides, fullerenes, azafullerenes, and, potentially, organometallics, carbon nitride, and exotic physical forms such as nanoplatelets, nanoaerogels, nanofibers, and nanotubes. Preliminary results suggest that novel and useful new materials result from explosive electrothermal decomposition of polymers like polycarbonate, PEEK, and polyethylene. Electrothermal Synthesis is especially competitive for production of nanocrystalline biomaterials such as nanocrystalline silver, titanium nitride, titanium aluminum vanadium, titanium aluminum niobium, and stainless steel. Nanocrystalline silver is a valuable biomaterial with extraordinary antimicrobial properties which might be added to resorbable polymers. Nanocrystalline carbon nitride has great potential as a biomaterial, when and if it is commercialized. Electrothermal synthesis is a new approach to synthesis, a spinoff of Los Alamos hypervelocity electromagnetic cannon technology, an interdisciplinary technology comprising chemistry, materials science, physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and structural engineering.

FLAIZER (5,7,9,10,34).

Flaizer is a new device and process for cutting and machining materials, a super-simple, highly functional device which continuously and precisely feeds new cutting element to compensate for wear. Even at very high rotational speeds, the adjustment is so fast, smooth, and precise as to give the illusion of wear-proof cutting element. Although it is fully automatic, it is remarkably simple, spinning as a single unit with no relatively moving parts. Even the control system has no moving parts. The control system, based on the protoflail effect, is purely mechanical, no circuits, computer chips, lasers, sensors or actuators, or solenoids. In fact, the control system is intrinsic. It cannot be identified as a separate, distinct system because all of the control components are integrated into the functional components. The Flaizer is a two stage device, with primary and secondary storage of cutting element, a very useful feature which extends the range of applications. A secondary control system (based on the rototractor effect) automatically and seamlessly delivers a new batch of cutting element from secondary to primary storage each time primary storage approaches depletion. The secondary control system is also purely mechanical and intrinsic and has no moving parts. Flaizer technology is the foundation for families of useful new devices and processes based on the general protoflail effect and the general rototractor effect.


My specialty is high-strength patents. Inventors with ready access to corporate patent attorneys might be tempted to remain aloof from the patent process. But experienced inventors know that the mental process of reducing an invention to its fundamentals and briefly summarizing it in the broadest possible terms stimulates inventive thinking, coaxing embryonic thoughts into focus. Inventions can be elevated to new levels by using two tools: a working knowledge of the basics of patent claims and an inventor’s profound understanding of his own invention. My US Patent 6,779,274 is a particularly good example of an especially broad patent, infringed by at least one nationally marketed product, sold at Wal-Mart.

Dr. Dennis R. Peterson

Synthes, West Chester, PA

Inspector (Brandywine);                               2006-Present

ŠInspections of products produced at Brandywine. CMM. OGP. Perthometer. Zygo.

Peterson Science and Technology, Malvern, PA

Founder, CEO, Head Engineer;                        2000-2006

ŠEstablished a small scale production shop to produce Flaizer lawn trimmer prototypes (5,7,9,10,34).

ŠSet-up MaxNC CNC mill and CNC lathe with gauges and fixtures.

ŠDesigned and fabricated numerous iterations of high-precision prototypes.

ŠCreated and de-bugged G-code for both mill and lathe line by line.

ŠSet up user tests. Collected user feedback.

ŠObtained US Patents 6,487,780; 6,311,398; 6,311,398

ŠTroubleshooting an organometallic decomposition reactor producing nanocrystalline iron oxide, a rocket fuel catalyst, an outside consulting job.

ŠEvaluation of new explosive forging process for near net shape metal parts, an outside consulting job.

Nanotechnologies, Inc., Austin, TX

Co-Founder, Chief Scientist;              1997-2000

ŠDemonstrated commercial production of NANOMATERIALS including NANOCRYSTALLINE SILVER.

ŠEstablished machine shop to fabricate an electrothermal reactor pilot plant.

ŠSupervised a small staff of engineers, machinists, and technicians.

ŠSet up Bridgeport mill, CNC lathe, gauging equipment, and fixtures.

ŠDesigned, fabricated, tested electrothermal guns and other components.

ŠAcquired power supplies, reactor vessels, and other equipment for pilot plant. Operated pilot plant.

ŠUS Patents 6,600,127; 6,472,632. European Patent WO0120953.

Institute for Advanced Technology, Austin, TX

Research Engineer;                             1991-1997

ŠInvented Electrothermal Synthesis. (Co-inventor: Harris Marcus.) (13-15)

ŠDesigned, fabricated, demonstrated laboratory scale electrothermal reactor.

ŠDesigned, fabricated, demonstrated very high pressure prestressed ceramic electrothermal gun.

ŠDemonstrated laboratory scale production of a variety of nanocrystalline materials, e.g., nanocrystalline titanium nitride.

ŠCharacterized nanocrystalline materials using transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X ray diffraction, BET nitrogen adsorption, energy dispersive spectroscopy, mass spec.

Center for Electromechanics, Austin, TX

Project Engineer;                                           1985-1991

ŠDesigned, fabricated, demonstrated operation of a ten meter long, 90 mm bore railgun, a hypervelocity electromagnetic cannon powered by ten million amp current pulses instead of gunpowder (16-27,29).

ŠSet up and operated honing and gauging machine to produce 10 m long, high-precision 90 mm railgun bores (21).

ŠDemonstrated ultra-fast, million amp explosively operated opening and closing switches (17).

ŠSupervised engineers, contractors, machinists, and technicians.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM

Project Engineer;                                           1979-1985

ŠDesigned, fabricated, demonstrated the first ever explosive magnetic flux compressor railgun (28,32,33).

Adolph Coors Company, Golden, CO

Mechanical Design Engineer;                          1970-1979

ŠDesign, fabrication, installation, start-up, and shakedown of industrial machinery and facilities.


Dr. Dennis R. Peterson



(1) “Correction, generalization, and interpretation of the drag analysis of an unstiff filament traveling along a stationary path in a rotating coordinate system, with experiments, applications, and demonstrations,” In preparation for submission to the International Journal of Nonlinear Mechanics.

(2) “The flaizer device: fast, precise, continuous automatic control via multiple simple, purely mechanical automatic control systems,” In preparation for submission to the Journal of Mechanical Design.

(3) “Families of novel and useful devices and processes exploiting the general protoflail effect and the general rototractor effect,” Patent application in preparation.

(4) “Tips for inventors,” Article and presentation in preparation.

(5) Dennis R. Peterson, Joseph A. Peterson, and Mary L. Peterson, “Dispenser for maintaining length of flexible line extending from a spool,” US Patent 6,779,274, 2004.

(6) D.R. Peterson, D.E. Wilson, and D.L. Willauer; “Method and apparatus for direct electrothermal-physical conversion of ceramic into nanopowder,” US Patent 6,600,127; 2003

(7) D.R. Peterson and J.A. Peterson, “Rotary device for automatically deploying and retracting a cord-like element from a storage device,” US Patent 6,487,780; 2002.

(8) D.R. Peterson and D.E. Wilson, “Method and apparatus for direct  electrothermal-physical conversion of ceramic into nanopowder,” US Patent 6,472,632; 2002.

(9) D.R. Peterson and J.A. Peterson, “Method and apparatus for simplified, fully automatic spool filament impeller for use in vegetation trimmer cutting heads and other applications,” US Patent 6,311,398; 2001.

(10) D.R. Peterson, J.A. Peterson, and M.L. Peterson, “Device for flexible line vegetation trimmers and other applications,” US Patent 6,272,756; 2001.

(11) D.R. Peterson, D.E. Willauer, and D.E. Wilson, “Method and apparatus for producing bulk quantities of nano-sized materials by electrothermal gun synthesis,” European Patent WO0120953, 2001. 

(12) J.U. Kim, K. Kim, D.E. Wilson, D.R. Peterson, and N.T. Clemens, "Neutralization of explosives by plasma jet impingement," Transactions on Plasma Science, vol 28, 2000, pp 312-322. 

(13) D.R. Peterson, "Metal and carbon plasma jets," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 33, 1997, pp 373-378. First presented at 8th Electromagnetic Launch Symposium, Baltimore, 1996.

(14) Dennis R. Peterson and Harris L. Marcus, “Production of Nanocrystalline Ceramics by Electrothermal-Chemical Synthesis,” Presented at TMS Las Vegas Meeting, 1995.

(15) D.R. Peterson, “Electrothermal-chemical synthesis of nanocrystalline ceramics,” PhD Thesis, The University of Texas at Austin, 1994.

(16) D.R. Peterson, "Magnetic design for structural stiffness," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 29, 1993, pp 1201-1207. First presented at 6Th Symposium on Electromagnetic Launch Technology, Austin, 1992.

(17) D.R. Peterson, J.H. Price, J.L. Upshaw, W.F. Weldon, R.C. Zowarka, J.H. Gully and M.L. Spann, "Heavy-duty explosively operated opening and closing switches,"  Transactions on Magnetics, vol 27, 1991, pp 369-373. First presented at 5th Symposium on Electromagnetic Launch Technology, Sandestin, FL, 1990.

(18) R.C. Zowarka, D.A. Weeks, W.F. Weldon, J.H. Gully, J.L. Upshaw, M.L. Spann and D.R. Peterson, "High Performance Electromagnetic Railgun Launcher," US Patent 4,884,489; 1989.

(19) E.P. Fahrenthold, J.H. Price and D.R. Peterson, "Structural design of cylindrical railguns," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 25, 1989, pp 180-185.


Dr. Dennis R. Peterson

(20) D.R. Peterson, J.H. Price, W. F. Weldon, R.C. Zowarka, C.W. Fulcher and J.H. Hahne, "Design and operation of a high-energy railgun facility," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 25, 1989, pp 438-442. First presented at 4th Symposium on Electromagnetic Lauch Technology, Austin, 1988.

(21) D.R. Peterson, M.H. Harville, W.F. Weldon, R.C. Zowarka and J.H.Price, "Producing and gauging precision railgun bores," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 25, 1989, pp 443-447.

(22) C. Persad, C.J. Lund, Z. Eliezer, D. R. Peterson, J. Hahne and R. C. Zowarka, "Wear of conductors in railguns: metallurgical aspects," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 25, 1989, pp 433-437.

(23) J.H. Price, C.W. Fulcher, M.W. Ingram, D.E. Perkins, D.R. Peterson, R.C. Zowarka, and J.A. Pappas, "Design and testing of solid armatures for large-bore railguns," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 25, 1989, pp 467-473.

(24) J.H. Price, E.P. Fahrenthold, C.W.G. Fulcher, D.R. Peterson, W.F. Weldon and R. C. Zowarka, "Design and testing of large-bore, ultra-stiff railguns," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 25, 1989, pp 460-466.

(25) E.P. Fahrenthold, D.R. Peterson, J.H. Price and A.Y. Wu, "Stress analysis for design of electromagnetic launchers," Journal of Vibration, Acoustics, Stress, and Reliability, vol 110, 1988, pp 395-400.

(26) C. Persad, D.R. Peterson and R.C. Zowarka, "Composite solid armature consolidation by pulse power processing: a novel homopolar generator application in EML technology," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 25, 1989, pp 429-437.

(27) D.R. Peterson, D.A. Weeks, R.C. Zowarka, R.W. Cook and W.F. Weldon, "Testing of a high-performance, precision-bore railgun," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 22, 1986, pp 1662-1668. 3rd Symposium on Electromagnetic Launch Technology, Austin, 1986.

(28) C.M. Fowler, E.L. Zimmerman, C.E. Cummings, R.F. Davidson, E. Foley, R.S. Hawke, J.F. Kerrisk, J.V. Parker, W.M.Parsons, D.R. Peterson, N.M. Schnurr and P.M. Stanley, "Railguns powered by explosive driven flux compression generators," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 22, 1986, pp 1475-1480.

(29) C. Persad and D.R. Peterson, "High energy rate modification of surface layers of conductors," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 22, 1986, pp 1658-1661.

(30) D.R. Peterson, C.M. Fowler, C.E. Cummings, J.F. Kerrisk, J.V. Parker, S.P. Marsh and D.F. Adams, "Design and testing of high-pressure railguns and projectiles," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 20, 1984, pp 252-255. First presented at Symposium on Electromagnetic Launch Technology, Boston, 1983.

(31) R.S. Hawke, A.L. Brooks, C.M. Fowler and D.R. Peterson, "Electromagnetic railgun launchers: direct launch feasibility," AIAA Journal, vol 20, 1982, pp 978-985.

(32) C.M. Fowler, D.R. Peterson, R.S. Caird, D.J. Erickson, B.L. Freeman and J.C. King, "Explosive flux compression generators for rail gun power sources," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 18, 1982, pp 64-67. First presented at Electromagnetic Guns and Launchers Conference, San Diego, 1980.

(33) R.S. Hawke, A.L. Brooks, F.J. Deadrick, J.K. Scudder, C.M. Fowler, R.S. Caird and D.R. Peterson, "Results of railgun experiments powered by magnetic flux compression generators," Transactions on Magnetics, vol 18, 1982, pp 82-93.

(34) D.R. Peterson, “Design and testing of a hypersonic filament pump,” Masters Thesis, The University of Wyoming, 1978.

(35) Dennis R. Peterson, “Method and apparatus for accelerating a filament and the like,” US Patent 4,131,045; 1978.