Plasma Modelling and Diagnostics | School of Physical Sciences

Plasma Modelling and Diagnostics

Group Members: Prof. Miles Turner and Dr. Paul Swift

Prof. Miles Turner leads this group which is part of the Precision Research Centre whose research focuses on Plasma. Plasma is a gaseous medium in which atoms or molecules are ionized to produce electrically charged particles, including negatively charged electrons, and ions that can carry either positive or negative charges.

Ionization occurs at a temperature of at least tens of thousands of degrees, so a plasma is usually very hot.  However, under some circumstances a plasma can be formed at a much lower temperature, and these low-temperature plasmas are interesting both from a physics perspective and from an applications view.  Microelectronics devices, for example, are manufactured by processing silicon wafers using a low-temperature plasma, and recently biomedical applications have been attracting interest.  This research group is concerned with modelling and measuring the behaviour of low-temperature plasmas, with a view to understanding fundamentals and exploring the implications for applications.

The group works extensively with engineers in academia and in industry to exploit its endeavours.  It also has an interest in more exotic plasma applications in the field of magnetically confined plasmas for generating energy by nuclear fusion. This work is carried out by the Precision Research Centre under the auspices of the EUROfusion consortium, which links together laboratories throughout the European Union and in some neighbouring countries.

Dr. Paul Swift's research centers on plasma diagnostics by optical means and the use of plasmas for thin film growth. The main areas of application are industrial. Plasma diagnostics, such as laser induced fluorescence and interferometry by optical means, offer an avenue of probing the plasma with the disturbances arising from electrical probes. The films are grown by DC and RF magnetron sputtering.






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