Laboratoire de Physique des plasmas

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

logo LPP

LPP is a freshly created laboratory, which 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) and environment (plasmas for air treatment). New diagnostics are developed both in the laboratory experiments and in the space missions defined by 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
Location: Palaiseau
magnetized plasmas, turbulence, magnetic fusion, light scattering diagnostic.

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 (Tore Supra, TCV at Lausanne) using lasers and microwaves. Turbulence dynamics, structure formation, and their interaction with flows are studied in these large scale experiments and on smaller laboratory machines (magnetized plasma ToriX, Hall thruster, and fluid turbulence).

Low-temperature plasmas

Team leader: Jean-Paul Booth
Location: Ecole Polytechnique
Keywords: Plasma Physics and Chemistry, Plasma/Solids-Liquids Interaction, Plasma Processing, Plasmas for Environmental Applications, Plasma Propulsion for space applications, Plasma-Assisted Combustion.

The team develops research in low-temperature plasmas with a strong expertise in experiments and optical diagnostics of reactive plasmas and nanosecond-scale plasmas. The team also has a strong reputation in theory and modeling. 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 and AIRCLEAN).

High-energy pulsed plasmas

Team leader: Jean Larour
Location: Ecole Polytechnique, UPMC
Keywords: High Energy Density Physics, Radiation Sources, X-ray sources, Z-pinch, X-pinch, X-ray spectroscopy, MHD radiative codes, Pulsed Power Science and Technology

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). It develops also table-top plasma sources for X-ray generation and innovative pulsed power technology. Beside collaboration within PLAS@PAR, the team is collaborating with the CEA for X-ray imaging of the implosion in the Mégajoule laser LMJ.

Space plasmas

Team leaders: Fouad Sahraoui and Matthieu Berthomier
Location: Ecole Polytechnique, Saint Maur (UPMC)
Keywords: Astrophysical plasmas, planetary magnetospheres, solar wind, plasma waves, ion mass spectrometry

The Space Plasma team, about half the LPP researchers and engineers, studies the astrophysical plasma through in-situ observations of natural plasma in Earth and Planetary environments (magnetosphere 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). The scientific analysis of the data is supported by theoretical works and numerical simulations. 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) and Cassini (Saturn) missions, the team prepares instruments to be launch on MMS (Earth) and BepiColombo (Mercury). A strong R&D program to develop new concept of instruments is underway to support future missions like Solar Orbiter or Laplace (Jupiter).