Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Plasma and quantum structures

January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2027
Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.02.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Physics   
2.09.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Electronic components and technologies   

Code Science Field
1.03  Natural Sciences  Physical sciences 
2.10  Engineering and Technology  Nano-technology 
Plasma, quantum structures, plasma matter interactions, gaseous discharges, plasma sources, plasma nanoscience, plasma physics, cold atmospheric plasma, plasma species, plasma applications, quantum wires, quantum dots, atom-by-atom manipulation, plasmonic sensors, energy storage systems
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on June 3, 2023; A3 for period 2017-2021
Data for ARRS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender, archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  382  8,511  7,146  18.71 
Scopus  389  9,214  7,808  20.07 
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22289  PhD Uroš Cvelbar  Engineering sciences and technologies  Principal Researcher  2022 - 2023  697 
2.  33330  PhD Gregor Filipič  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2022 - 2023  126 
3.  37471  PhD Nataša Hojnik  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2022 - 2023  58 
4.  52048  Martin Košiček  Engineering sciences and technologies  Junior researcher  2022 - 2023  21 
5.  55438  PhD Neelakandan Marath Santhosh  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2022 - 2023  46 
6.  32159  PhD Martina Modic  Medical sciences  Researcher  2022 - 2023  156 
7.  54048  PhD Vasyl Shvalya  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2022 - 2023  49 
8.  55179  PhD James L. Walsh  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2022 - 2023  53 
9.  33329  PhD Janez Zavašnik  Natural sciences and mathematics  Researcher  2022 - 2023  264 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  85,820 
Plasma science is a multidisciplinary field ranging from basic research to advanced applications, providing a backbone to the future of processing technologies, including enabling quantum computing. The proposed program encompasses interconnected fields of research such as the science of gases and gaseous discharges, plasma nanoscience, processing and synthesis of quantum structures, plasma physics and chemistry, plasma enabled biomedicine and biotechnology, advanced sensors, and other emerging topics relevant to the manipulation of atoms and electrons. These research topics are brought together to solve different problems, tackle grand challenges in science and technology, and support emerging research fields. To advance these topics beyond the state-of-art, the program Plasma and quantum structures will explore three directions: i) Understanding the basic mechanisms of cold plasma – gas/liquid/solid matter interactions, ii) Research in physical and chemical processes enabled by plasma species, and iii) Design and use of quantum structures. First, we will tackle the physics of plasma at thermodynamically non-equilibrium conditions, referred to as cold atmospheric pressure plasma, and its interactions with gas, liquid, or solid-state matter. The research will encompass the development of innovative sources for the generation of such plasmas under different conditions, their implementations into experiments tackling air resistance, transition phenomena in solids, and natural phenomena including instabilities in liquids or gases. The reaction pathways during plasma species interactions with connected physical and chemical processes will be explored for toxic, hazardous, and pollutant molecules and other organic materials, including more complex cells and microorganisms. The aim will be to understand basic mechanisms and primary plasma agents in processes such as decomposition and removal of targeted molecules, plasma remediation, plasma RONS chemistry for cell control, and similar. Lastly, the design of quantum structures at sizes below 10 nm for observations of quantum effects related to plasma-gas-solid material phenomena or atomic-scale interactions. Plasma and its constituent species will be explored to produce or manipulate quantum structures such as wires, dots, and nanoscale domains at an atom-by-atom scale for exploitation in different advanced applications, including plasmonic sensors and energy storage systems.
Significance for science
All proposed research in this program will lead to novel scientific results and discoveries in plasma physics or chemistry and quantum technologies, which will be published in the highly ranked scientific journals related to a specific topic. The research related to understanding the basic mechanisms of plasma – gas/liquid/solid matter interactions is expected to provide critical insight into the coupling of different plasma species, especially charged species with a different state of matter, to reveal the role of the generated electrohydrodynamic forces of such systems. Our first reports in Nature Communications on the origin of electric wind and recent Nature paper on stabilisation of instabilities in liquids with ionised gas jets show enormous potential for such research. Understanding the basic science related to these phenomena, observed experimentally in cold atmospheric pressure plasmas and modelled theoretically, is the key to future implementations and use in various fields. In this respect, research and development of novel sources for the generation of these plasmas in different configurations are crucial and may lead beyond the current state-of-the-art electronic components and technologies. With progress in these areas, science will benefit from practical implementations of these phenomena in harnessing the instabilities of phenomena generated by physical principles like interactions of shear force and reducing those in dynamic systems of gases or liquids with the implementation of thermodynamically non-equilibrium systems like atmospheric pressure plasma. A better understanding of the basic principles and nature of cold plasmas will also provide insights into the chemistries in matter generated by different plasma species. The program will explore the cold atmospheric plasma reaction pathways with targeted organic molecules, either separately or in liquids, to identify key plasma agent species relevant for fast processing and decomposition of toxic, hazardous or other pollutant molecules. The detailed mechanisms of plasma interactions and sequent reactions of molecules due to reactive species or even electrons will be revealed using state-of-the-art surface and spectral analyses. This basic research will form a second pillar of the program, providing basic knowledge on the applicability of plasma and the design of plasma supported chemical processes in liquids, in the presence of catalysts, or other relevant systems. This knowledge will address challenges connected to the safe use of plasmas as an efficient tool in related organic chemistry, raising top-level publications as in our recent publication on decontamination mechanisms of the potent carcinogenic mycotoxin AB1, published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. This research will be extended to more complex systems with live organisms with cells relevant in medicine and microorganisms for their stimulation or selected deactivation. The step towards establishing plasma as an enabling technology for quantum technologies and their applications is the basic research behind mechanisms of fabrications of quantum structures with plasmas. This research focuses on understanding deterministic mechanisms behind the growth and manipulation of quantum wires, quantum dots, quantum tubes, and other related quantum structures during the plasma or gas - surface interactions and going beyond the current state-of-art by exploring transition phenomena between solid-state matter and plasma on atomic scales below 10 nm and governed by quantum effects. For this research, new top-level scientific equipment and methods are needed for basic research and the establishment of infrastructure for emerging quantum technologies. The established theoretical models and methods will provide custom design for various quantum structures far beyond state of the art in plasmonic sensors, for example, in the detection of single molecules with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), or other energy storage-related systems, like supercapacitors of Li-ion batteries (LIBs), multivalent metal ion batteries (MMIBs), or similar where leap in science and technology is required.
Significance for the country
The research activities within this project cover various multidisciplinary research areas, ranging from the science of gases and gaseous discharges, plasma physics, plasma nanoscience, issues related to the environment, plasma biology and biomedicine, advanced sensors, surface electronics, and materials, to quantum technology. Within this scope, we are exploring different gaseous and plasma systems and their use in various fields to address important challenges to meet grand societal challenges. The research activities are quite diverse, but they cover the primary impact of this research on future industrial production and technology with quantum technologies. However, the plasma research is not limited and extends to ARRS objectives related to the impact on the environment, health, energy, and education. Plasma technology is expected to become a key enabling technology for fast-growing quantum technologies, especially for building systems and devices on-demand at fast atom-by-atom manipulation, as an interconnecting source also exploring transition phenomena and quantum effects in solids. Here the proposal’s potential contributions to Slovenia's socioeconomic impacts are clear, yet to be established. Similarly, the impact on the environment with the use of cold atmospheric plasmas is well established and highly relevant to Slovenia's green development. The proposed research is expected to provide new methods and devices to prevent, reduce or eliminate environmental pollution, which is related especially to toxic, hazardous substances or even microorganisms. Our previous research has already demonstrated the initial possibility that the unique properties of plasmas generated under ambient conditions are a novel, safe and effective approach in the fight against mycotoxin contamination. The removal of highly potent natural contaminants like mycotoxins from surfaces of food products would provide a permanent green solution for the removal of mycotoxins from crops, and alone save million tons of food per year, and prevent many related diseases, including cancer, and ultimately minimise its risks to animals and humans. Similar impacts on the environment are also expected by using plasmas for protection against allergens, protecting the atmosphere, cleaning water pollution, and improved remediation of wastewaters. Plasmas can help protect health, and also be used in different therapies for cancer treatment and selective deactivation of cancerogenic cells in areas around tumours, stimulation of cells in tissues, or their deactivations in remote surgically inoperable areas of the human body like the eye, saving thousands of lives. The applications and building of advanced nanostructures and quantum structures with plasmas could bring Slovenia also breakthroughs in the field of energy-related research by providing more advanced energy harvesting and storage systems. The key to these improvements are extremely versatile possibilities offered by plasma processes in manipulations of materials and even single crystal domains or growing new nanosized materials. With such possibilities, processing of materials on scales below 10 nm and far from thermodynamic equilibrium, various exotic materials, including metamaterials, may be produced. Our research has already indicated that with plasma preparations of materials, the outperforming of Lithium-ion batteries based on hybrid carbon-based nanostructures may be obtained, or advanced carbon-nickel sulphide hybrid nanostructures which extend the limits of battery-type electrodes for redox-based supercapacitor applications, just to name a few. Lastly, the program will contribute to the education and training of young researchers or personnel from industry to secure knowledge transfers from public research institutions to Slovenian industry. This relates especially to high-technology knowledge in applications of plasmas, quantum technologies and devices, at the moment not available in Slovenia but requested by many Slovenian high-tech companies, where some already collaborate with the applicant.
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