Thomas Trottenberg

TrottenbergThomas Trottenberg is researcher and teacher at Kiel University in Germany. He received his doctoral degree in the field of complex plasmas in 2006, in which he had been researching until then. After that, he shifted his interests to plasma and beam diagnostics, sputtering, and electric space propulsion. In the early years as a postdoctoral researcher, he explored, motivated by his expertise in dusty plasmas, the feasibility of space propulsion by means of charged and electrostatically accelerated microparticles. Working with broad-beam ion sources for materials processing, the path was paved for focusing on electric thrusters that can be considered as repurposed ion sources (or vice-versa). Dr. Trottenberg also researched the sputtering of materials by particle beams, which is very important for both industrial applications and electric space propulsion. To this purpose, he developed and patented a novel beam diagnostic for momentum flux ("force probe"). Currently, he is involved in the development of an in-flight plasma diagnostics package for a satellite with electric thrusters. Besides his research, he is responsible for the Advanced Physical Internship (lab courses) at his university.

Key publications

  1. T. Trottenberg, A. Melzer und A. Piel, "Measurement of the electric charge on particulates forming Coulomb crystals in the sheath of a radiofrequency plasma", Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 4, 450 (1995). []
  2. A. Spethmann, T. Trottenberg, and H. Kersten, "Measurement and simulation of the momentum transferred to a surface by deposition of sputtered atoms", Eur. Phys. J. D 70, 255 (2016).
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  4. T. Trottenberg, A. Spethmann, H. Kersten, "An interferometric force probe for beam diagnostics and the study of sputtering", EPJ TI 5, 3 (2018). []
  5. T. Trottenberg, et al., "An in-flight plasma diagnostic package for spacecraft with electric propulsion", EPJ TI 8, 16 (2021). []

Tony Murphy

Tony MurphyTony Murphy was born in Sydney, Australia (unlike Vasco Guerra) many years ago. He received a PhD in Physics from the University of Sydney, and subsequently did a postdoc at Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik. Since 1989, he has worked at CSIRO, Australia’s main government research organisation, where he is now a Chief Research Scientist. (A prize will be awarded to all who can say what CSIRO stands for).

Tony’s main research area is thermal plasma processes, including arc welding, waste treatment, and plasma property calculation. He has also worked on several other topics, including water splitting using solar energy, ice crystal nucleation in jet engine exhausts, and metal 3D printing. He was a member of the team that developed the PLASCON waste destruction process, and has led plasma modelling projects with several companies, including General Motors, Boeing and Siemens. He has over 200 refereed journal publications, and has been awarded research medals by the Institute of Physics (UK), Australian Academy of Science, Australian Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of NSW. He is Editor-in-Chief of Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing, and a member of the Editorial Boards of Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics and Scientific Reports; you are encouraged to submit your best work to these journals.


  1. A. B. Murphy, ‘A perspective on arc welding research: the importance of the arc, unresolved questions and future directions’, Plasma Chem. Plasma Process. 35 471–489 (2015).
  2. A. B. Murphy and E. Tam, ‘Thermodynamic properties and transport coefficients of arc lamp plasmas: argon, krypton and xenon’, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 47 295202 (10 pp.) (2014).
  3. A. B. Murphy, ‘Calculation and application of combined diffusion coefficients in thermal plasmas’, Sci. Rep. 4 4304 (5 pp.) (2014).

Tsanko Tsankov

TsankovTsanko V. Tsankov received his PhD degree in Plasma Physics from Sofia University, Bulgaria in 2009. An Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship brought him to Ruhr University Bochum in 2010, where he is a senior researcher in the group of Prof. Uwe Czarnetzki till this day. His research interests cover a broad spectrum of topics in low-temperature plasmas, with a particular focus on electrical and spectral diagnostics of discharges. Notable topics are the investigations of magnetized and non-magnetized inductive discharges, studies of the collisional-radiative recombination and the kinetics of the excited species in afterglow plasmas, contributions to the measurement of the distribution functions of electrons and ions. For his contribution to the mass-spectrometric measurement of ion distribution functions he received the Masao Horiba Award in 2018. His newest field of research are ns pulsed discharges in CO2. He also co-authored the two Foundations papers on RF discharges that are among the course materials.


Key publications

  1. Ts. V. Tsankov, R. Johnsen and U. Czarnetzki, “Rydberg state, metastable, and electron dynamics in the low-pressure argon afterglow”, Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 24 (2015) 065001

  2. Ts. V. Tsankov and U. Czarnetzki, “Information hidden in the velocity distribution of ions and the exact kinetic Bohm criterion”, Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 26 (2017) 055003

  3. P. Chabert, Ts. V. Tsankov and U. Czarnetzki, “Foundations of capacitive and inductive radio-frequency discharges”, Plasma Sources Sci. Technol. 30 (2021) 024001

  4. C. Lütke Stetzkamp, Ts. V. Tsankov and U. Czarnetzki, “Lock-in technique for precise measurement of ion distribution functions”, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 54 (2021) 305202

  5. Y. Du, Ts. V. Tsankov, D. Luggenhölscher and U. Czarnetzki, “Nanosecond resolved ro-vibrational CO2 excitation measurement”,  J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 54 (2021) 34LT02

Volker Schulz-von der Gathen

Schulz-von der GathenVolker Schulz-von der Gathen was born in Essen, Germany, on December 25, 1956. He received the PhD degree in Physics from the University of Essen in 1990. Until 2007 he worked at the Institute for Laser- and Plasma Physics at the University of Essen. Then he changed as senior scientist to the Ruhr-University Bochum to the Chair for Experimental Physics II, that is now dedicated to the physics of reactive plasmas. His field of work is the diagnostics of low-temperature plasmas. Apart from electrical diagnostics as Langmuir probes in particular optical diagnostics is in the center of the work group he is actually leading. Optical diagnostics cover passive methods such as optical emission spectroscopy and active laser methods such as e.g. Two-photon absorption laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy to measure absolute densities of a atomic species in the plasma. Since about 10 years his research is centered on atmospheric pressure discharges, so called micro discharges. These are of interest for biological, medical, and environmental applications. Here his group developed an rf excited microplasma jet especially suited for optical diagnostics. The second central device is a so-called microplasma array, that is investigated als in cooperation with the group of R. Dussart from the GREMI at Orleans.


Key publications

  1. J. Golda, J. Held, B. Redeker, M. Konkowski, P. Beijer, A. Sobota, G. Kroesen, N. St. J. Braithwaite, S. Reuter, M. M. Turner, T. Gans, D. O’Connell, V. Schulz-von der Gathen, "Concepts and characteristics of the 'COST Reference Microplasma Jet'", J.Phys.D: Appl. Phys 49 (2016) 084003  
  2. M.K. Kulsreshath, J. Golda, V. Schulz-von der Gathen and R. Dussart. “Width dependent interaction of trench-like microdischarges arranged in sub-arrays on a silicon based chip “, Plasma Sources Science Technol. 23 (2014) 045012 
  3. V. Schulz-von der Gathen, L. Schaper, N. Knake, St. Reuter, K. Niemi, T . Gans, J. Winter, Spatially resolved diagnostics on a micro atmospheric pressure plasma jet, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 41 , (2008) 194004
  4. T. Gans, C.C. Lin, V. Schulz-von der Gathen and H.F. Döbele, Phase-resolved emission spectroscopy of a hydrogen rf discharge for the determination of quenching coefficients, Phys. Rev. A, 67 (2003) 012707