Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas

Director: Pascal Chabert
Location: Palaiseau & Jussieu
Keywords: Natural plasmas, hot plasmas and cold plasmas.


logo LPP






LPP develops fundamental research in plasma physics and chemistry. The research is mostly oriented towards basic phenomena, such as non-linear processes, instabilities, turbulence, self-organization and filamentation, interaction of plasmas with solids and liquids, reactivity and kinetics. However, it involves observations of natural plasmas and is also oriented by the growing number of plasma applications, including energy (fusion, photovoltaics), space science and technology (scientific space missions, plasma thrusters), nanotechnologies (plasma etching and deposition), environment (plasmas for air treatment and CO2 recycling) and medicine (cancer treatment, dermatology). New diagnostics are developed both in the laboratory experiments and in the space missions conducted within international teams. The LPP also has a strong expertise in theory and numerical simulations. The laboratory has four research teams:

Magnetic fusion, Team leader: Pascale Hennequin

The LPP Fusion team activity is focused on experimental and theoretical study of turbulence and its impact on plasma confinement performance. The group has an established experimental base with the use of electromagnetic wave scattering to diagnose plasma (and fluid) turbulence. It has a long-standing collaboration with the CEA (Cadarache) for the design and scientific exploitation of turbulence diagnostics on a Tokamak (West in Cadarache, TCV in Lausanne and Asdex in Garching) using lasers and microwaves. Turbulence dynamics, structure formation, and their interaction with flows are studied in these large-scale experiments, on smaller laboratory machines (magnetized plasma ToriX, Hall thruster, and fluid turbulence), and by theory and simulation.

Low-temperature plasmas, Team leader: Anne Bourdon

The team develops research in low-temperature plasmas with a strong expertise in experiments and optical diagnostics of reactive plasmas. The team also has a strong reputation in theory and modelling of low-pressure plasmas. Driven by many applications (including emerging applications like medicine, space, environment, and/or agriculture), the research also includes chemistry and catalysis and plasma-surface interaction, both with solids and liquids. Although the research is mostly focused on basic phenomena, the team has many patents, strong industrial collaborations and former members founded start-up companies (PRESANS, SOLAYL, AIRCLEAN, and THRUSTME).

High-energy pulsed plasmas, Team leader: Jean Larour

The team studies dense and magnetized plasmas created by high current discharges. Its activity is based on joint work with the most powerful Z-pinch facilities (Z-machine at Sandia Labs, USA, Reno Univ., USA, HCEI Tomsk, Russia) and on radiative MHD modelling (MARPLE code). The team has also proposed tabletop experiments for laboratory astrophysics experiments (collaboration within PLAS@PAR).

Space plasmas, Team leaders: Fouad Sahraoui and Matthieu Berthomier

The Space Plasma team studies astrophysical plasmas through in-situ observations in Earth and Planetary environments (magnetospheres and solar wind). The team is involved in the conception, development, operations and data analysis of space instruments flown on the major space missions, in partnership with international laboratories and world space agencies (ESA, NASA, JAXA, and CNES). Theoretical work and numerical simulations support the scientific analysis of the data. It has a worldwide-recognized expertise in the flight of search-coil magnetometers and in particles spectrometers. Beyond the operations and analysis of instruments in flight on the Cluster, Themis (Earth), Cassini (Saturn) and MMS (Earth) missions, the team prepares instruments to be launch on Solar Orbiter (Solar wind), BepiColombo (Mercury) and JUICE (Jupiter). A strong R&D program to develop new concept of instruments is underway to support future missions.