Research

Research Excellence

Gas Plasma Interactions with Organic Liquids: Fundamental Processes, Chemical Probes and Novel Synthetic Technologies

Nonthermal plasmas are ionised gases containing cocktails of electrons, ions, radicals, excited species and photons under conditions that are far from thermodynamic equilibrium.

As a result, plasmas can generate very reactive environments at low temperature to initiate and catalyse chemical processes. Semiconductor fabrication, large area displays and energy-efficient lighting are examples of technologies that have been enabled by advances in plasma physics and engineering.

In recent years, the advance of atmospheric-pressure nonthermal plasmas has revolutionized the field of plasmas and novel applications with great potential to benefit society have emerged, such as continuous nanoparticle synthesis and plasma medicine. The development of non-thermal plasmas operating at atmospheric pressure eliminates the need for vacuum systems and opens the possibility of novel processing of liquids that were not possible in vacuum systems due to vapour pressure limitations.

This adventure Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) builds on Loughborough University’s expertise in plasma physics, organic chemistry, mathematical modelling and chemical engineering to investigate the interaction of atmospheric plasmas with organic liquids. The CDT undertakes computational and experimental research to fundamentally understand:

  • the roles for new chemical detectors in plasma science and emerging applications (e.g. plasma medicine)
  • the potential of novel plasma-driven processes for chemical organic synthesis

Current research activities

  • Computational models of atmospheric pressure plasmas and plasma-liquid systems
  • Mathematical modelling and computational studies of reactive transport across plasma-liquid interfaces
  • Microbubble plasma reactor for enhanced transport of plasma liquid into liquids
  • Electrical, optical and chemical characterization of atmospheric-pressure plasmas
  • In-flow reactor for plasma treatment of liquids
  • Development of fluorescent probes for selective detection of reactive species
  • Plasma-driven organic synthesis and screening of organic reactions in plasma-liquid systems
  • Design of electrical power supplies and plasma systems for treatment of organic liquids
  • Microfluidics devices for controlling plasma-liquid interactions

The CDT has partnered with leading research groups at the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (Germany), the Institute of Plasma Physics (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic), University of Utah (USA), the University of Ulster (UK) and Xian Jiatong University (China). It is also actively involved in the European COST action TD1208 “Electrical discharges with liquids for future applications”.

Joining the CDT

PhD applications are welcome at any time throughout the year but candidates seeking financial support are asked to apply at least 8 months before the intended starting date.  Successful applicants will have a 1st class or high 2:1 honours degree in a relevant Engineering or Science discipline and an appetite and aptitude for interdisciplinary research, as well as good communication and experimental or computational skills. Multi-disciplinary training will be provided, and the student will join chemists, engineers, physicists and mathematicians working in related interdisciplinary research. Only applications submitted through the Loughborough University application portal will be considered.

Who to contact

For general questions about the CDT, please contact Dr Felipe Iza

The subject specific questions, please feel free to email relevant academic staff involved in the CDT:

Further information