Plasma Research Laboratory | School of Physical Sciences

Plasma Research Laboratory (PRL)

Plasma Research Laboratory (PRL) Research Director: Dr. Bert Ellingboe, PhD

The Plasma Research Laboratory researches the engineering‑physics of plasma sources and diagnostics for basic understanding of the physical operational principles and their applications. We are interested in RF plasma sources, especially using a physics description of the plasma to inform the engineering of the RF power system and/or experimental design to operate the application or demonstrate the phenomenon. 

The PRL is also commercialising its technologies, engaging with world-leading manufacturers and equipment providers, and focusing on the application of high‑VHF plasma sources for advanced display and semiconductor manufacturing. Recent applications include barrier coatings for Organic LED displays on plastic; growth of thin-film silicon solar cell active layers; surface modification of carbon-fibre panels used in aircraft manufacturing; and RF power systems for high-VHF power transport and matching.

PhD Research Opportunities:

The PRL is looking for students wishing to commence PhD studies in the fall of 2019.

Up to three positions are available as listed below.

Student funding will be via the Irish Research Council’s ‘Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme 2019’ (
The IRC-GOI Scholarship is a highly-competitive, highly-prestigious (up-to) 4-year grant in support of pioneering research.

Candidates are expected to have demonstrated excellence in coursework in attaining their Undergraduate Degree in Physics or a closely related subject (and, preferably Masters-level course-work and/or research); provide references from two persons who are directly aware of your skill set and understand the international-context for PhD by Research; and have demonstrated excellent laboratory skills with experience in (some of:) power-electronics, plasma, spectroscopy, rf-engineering, atmospheric-chemistry; and to have demonstrated excellent communication skills both oral and written.

Students wishing to be considered for support by the PRL in this application should send an email to Albert-dot-Ellingboe at dcu-dot-ie with their CV, the names of two suitable referees, and a description of their personal interest in *one* of the projects listed below by the 17th of October 2018.

Project 1:

Carbon dioxide utilisation by plasma catalysis in high-VHF atmospheric plasma 

The PRL has recently demonstrated a novel design of atmospheric plasma source which readily operates in pure CO2 and with admixtures of select gasses. The high-VHF excitation of the discharge results in a quiescent plasma with high ionisation while retaining low gas temperature. This highly non-thermal condition is well suited for the plasma-catalysis carbon-dioxide into carbon-monoxide, which in-turn can be converted in syn-gas enabling a closed-carbon-loop energy storage system. In this project the student will analyse the plasma catalytic behaviour and evaluate the non-thermal plasma in terms of electrical efficiency and gas-conversion fraction.
(Initial system demonstration and data evaluation was presented at the 2018 ICMAP conference: )

Project 2:

Advanced atmospheric-plasma-source designs for in-vivo plasma medicine

Plasma medicine has made great strides in wound treatment, and cancer therapeutics. (See PRL-alumni website for details: )
For in-vivo applications of plasma-therapy there are many challenges bringing the plasma-activated gas-chemistry into the application site internal to the patient.
This project will demonstrate new plasma technology that circumvents many of the challenges encountered when transferring in-vitro treatments to in-vivo treatments.

Project 3:

Demonstration of a combined radio-frequency power-splitter and power-combiner for high-power, multi-tile plasma sources

The PRL have developed a novel class of rf-power splitter which enables divide-by arbitrary-N outputs. The power-splitter topology is as a passive device and as-such can operate as a power combiner as well.
In this project the student will demonstrate a compact power-combiner / power-splitter such that arbitrary-M power sources can directly couple to arbitrary-N elements in a multi-tile array.


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