Principles and Research Objectives
Streamer discharges with different electrode configurations (coaxial corona, surface dielectric barrier discharge, etc.) in various gaseous mixtures at atmospheric pressure are investigated, fundamental physical and chemical processes induced by these discharges and their potential environmental and biomedical applications (e.g., NOx decomposition, O3 production, surface modification and sterilization, decomposition of biocompatible plasma polymers, etc.). This research relies mainly on diagnostics of chemical kinetics and elementary energy transfer processes in plasma using fast multichannel emission spectroscopy and laser induced spectroscopy (LIF) with nanosecond time resolutions and submilimeter spatial resolution. This unit of the IPS Department has a long-term cooperation with the C.N.R. Bari (Italy) specializing in advanced optical diagnostics of streamer discharges. In 2010, the Institute established cooperation with the IAA (Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalusia), CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientifícas), Granada, Spain, in the field of Transient Luminous Events (TLE). TLE is term for large-scale optical phenomena which take place in high altitudes (15 to 90 km) and that are associated (in terms of time and spatial localization) with storm activities (cloud-to-ground lightnings). The cooperation with IAA is focused on the investigation of basic spectrometric characteristics of TLE discharge laboratory analogues. The collaboration has led to the development of original experimental laboratoy devices enabling periodical generation of ionizing waves (streamer discharges) in conditions that imitate the environment of upper atmosphere layers (in terms of pressure, temperature, time characteristics of electric fields), in which TLE discharges take place. This research focuses on one type of these discharges, the "Red Sprite".