The Center of Excellence PLASMA is based on the consortium of the research groups PLASMANT, EMAT and CMT, and is linked to the Methusalem Grant of Annemie Bogaerts. The aim of this Methusalem Grant is to study plasmas for various applications, by modeling and experiments.
Plasma is an ionized gas. It is the fourth state of matter, next to solid, liquid and gaseous state. It exists in nature, but it can also be generated in laboratories by applying electric fields or heat to a gas. It consists of gas molecules, but also many reactive species, like electrons, various types of ions, radicals and excited species. This highly reactive chemical cocktail makes plasma interesting for many applications. We are studying the underlying mechanisms in plasma, including the plasma chemistry, plasma reactor design and plasma-surface interactions, by means of computer simulations and experiments, to improve the following applications:
- in environmental/energy applications (i.e., conversion of greenhouse gases and nitrogen fixation),
- for medicine (mainly cancer research),
- in materials science (for nanotechnology and microchip fabrication), and
- for analytical chemistry.
More information can be found at the PLASMANT website.
Furthermore, we want to build specific plasma cells to be integrated inside the electron microscope facilities of EMAT. A sample (e.g., catalyst, biomolecule, cancer cells or liquid surface) will be placed in the reactor. In-situ plasma experiments and SEM imaging will provide a time-resolved picture on the evolution of the surfaces in real time. This will provide us nanoscale information on the interaction between the plasma species and these surfaces.
In addition, PLASMANT collaborates with EMAT on characterization of catalyst materials before/after plasma catalysis, to gain insight in the underlying mechanisms, as well as with CMT, on DFT simulations for catalyst screening, to evaluate which catalyst materials would be most suitable for CO2 conversion or N2 fixation by plasma catalysis.
Promotor: Annemie Bogaerts
Co promotor: Jo Verbeeck
Co promotor: Bart Partoens