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17 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 75.
Title PSI-lab: an integrated laboratory on plasma-surface interaction  (PSIL)
Executive organisational unit DIFFER
Programme management Prof.dr.ir. M.C.M. van de Sanden a.i.
Duration 2004-2015
Cost estimate M€ 18.9

The objective of the programme is to study the interaction of intense particle or photon fluxes with a material surface in a fundamental approach. An important aim of the investigation is to access the strongly coupled regime, in which the particles that come of the surface are kept in the system and define the plasma-surface interaction. Concrete research areas include:

  • The search for mechanisms to create surfaces that are dynamically stable under intense plasma or radiation bombardment.
  • The physics of plasma jets, in particular those in close contact with a material surface.
  • The physics of dust formation during intense plasma-surface interaction.

Background, relevance and implementation
A plasma is a unique source of chemical radicals that allow for tuning chemistry at surfaces with opportunities beyond classical chemistry. However, the plasma-surface system is com­plex, governed by strong non-linearities in particular at high densities. The plasma in front of the surface (composition, temperature, density etc.) is strongly influenced by the plasma-sur­face interaction (PSI). The surface, through radical reactions, erosion and deposition, in parti­cular the deposition of clusters and compounds formed in the plasma, is modified by the plasma. The formation of clusters of molecules and their evolution in the plasma is in itself a process that strongly depends on the PSI conditions, while the clusters in turn strongly influ­ence both the plasma and the surface. Thus, plasma and surface cannot be treated separately. Together they form a strongly coupled physical system in dynamic equilibrium.
The study of plasma surface interaction at high fluxes of particles and/or photons is of imme­diate relevance for such diverse fields as the development of fusion energy and the production of robust components for XUV optics, but also for e.g. formation of dust in astro­physical sys­tems.
To study and employ PSI, three experiments will be built, sharing surface analytical equip­ment. A world-wide unique linear plasma generator, Magnum-PSI, will allow access to the strongly coupled regime of PSI. A smaller, already operational facility (Pilot-PSI) will be used for source development and testing of diagnostics.
Finally, complementary to the experiments performed on the Magnum-PSI and Pilot-PSI set ups, the Surface-PSI device will allow basic PSI studies under well-defined low flux condi­tions. Parallel and integrated with the experimental research programme is a strong compu­ta­tional effort. The controlled and well-diagnosed experiments in PSI-lab are ideally suited for the benchmarking of computational models, which in turn can guide further experiments.

The final evaluation of the programme will consist of a self-evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2015.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2014 within this FOM programme here.