2 PhD positions on plasma assisted combustion (V34.3497)

2 PhD positions on plasma assisted combustion

Faculteit Technische Natuurkunde, Faculteit Werktuigbouwkunde


We seek to hire two PhD’s to investigate plasma assisted combustion. One of these will have an experimental focus while the other will use numerical modelling. Both candidates will divide their time between two groups (and departments). They will spend roughly half of their time in the Elementary Processes in Gas discharges (EPG) group of the Applied Physics department and the other half in the Multiphase and Reactive Flow group (MRF) of the Mechanical Engineering Department. The experimental PhD will be formally placed in EPG while the numerical student will formally work for MRF.

Research Summary

Plasma assisted combustion promises to use the unique properties of cold plasma to make combustion leaner and cleaner. Within the present project, we will investigate a new plasma assisted burner geometry, that is promising for applications, and that allows thorough experimental and theoretical investigations of the basic mechanisms.

We will combine state-of-the-art plasma and flame diagnostics with advanced plasma and flame modelling to understand how plasma interacts with a flame, and how to make this interaction the most efficient. Based on that, we will propose designs for cheap and practical plasma-assisted burner geometries. Combined with a cost-effective high-voltage power source that will also be developed in the project, this can lead to an economically feasible implementation of this technique, eventually resulting in large scale adoption of plasma-assisted combustion in the boiler market.

This project is sponsored by TTW with the project title ‘Making plasma-assisted combustion efficient’. The work will be done in cooperation with the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam, the Electrical Energy Systems group at TU/e and three industrial partners. In the Multiscale Dynamics group at CWI, a postdoc will develop models and computational tools on different scales of space, time and energy to complement the experiments and models at TU/e.


Beyond collaboration with your project partners at TU/e and CWI, you will interact with the international network of applied plasma and high voltage technology through schools and conferences.

PhD Candidate position 1, experimental
Located at the EPG group of the Applied Physics Department

This PhD student will answer our scientific questions by performing advanced plasma diagnostics on model burners that combine a relatively simple flame geometry with good experimental access, based on our novel design. We plan to use one burner type that can operate at atmospheric pressures to closely mimic application conditions and another type that can be operated at lower pressures (a few hundred millibars) to improve experimental access.

We plan to perform the following diagnostics on the discharge and the flame: chemical characterization, local field measurement by field induced second harmonic generation, gas temperature measurements by Rayleigh, Raman or CARS based techniques, flow profile measurements, plasma imaging and electrical diagnostics.

Furthermore, he or she will set the first steps to apply the acquired knowledge towards a realistic burner implementation.

PhD Candidate position 2, numerical
Located at the MRF group of the Department of Mechanical Engineering

The numerical PhD student will focus on combining calculations of plasma chemistry and combustion chemistry including the flow and heating dynamics in CH4-H2-air mixtures. The PhD student will first realize a multi-component transport and reaction model in fluid approximation that can cope with the presence of charged species and electric fields, and apply it to the plasma-burner. Subsequently, he/she will couple this plasma model with a flame model, and use it to investigate how species that are generated by the plasma (oxygen radicals, ozone, fuel fragments, etc.) influence burning velocity, flammability limits and shape of the flame.

The developed model will be validated against experimental data obtained by the experimental PhD student, and it will then be used to study and understand plasma-flame interaction and to optimize the design of plasma-assisted burners: burner disk geometry, voltage wave form, gas composition and flow velocity.


PhD Candidate position 1, experimental
Located at the EPG group of the Applied Physics Department

The successful candidate has a Master degree and an excellent academic record in physics and/or combustion engineering. He/she must have a strong attitude towards experimental physics with a focus on plasma physics and/or combustion technology.

PhD Candidate position 2, numerical
Located at the MRF group of the Department of Mechanical Engineering

The successful candidate has a Master degree and an excellent academic record in physics, mechanical engineering, or equivalent. He/she must have a strong background in computational modelling, including numerical methods and programming, and a strong attitude to solving complex physical problems with a focus on plasma physics and/or combustion technology.


  • An exciting job at the forefront of research in one of two top-level pulsed power and plasma and combustion groups with state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities.
  • A full time appointment for four years at Eindhoven University of Technology.
  • Gross monthly salary from €2266 (first year) to €2897 (fourth year) in line with the Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • An attractive package of fringe benefits, including a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program), end-of-year allowance and excellent sports facilities.

Information about the PROOF Program can be found here.

Informatie en sollicitatie

Information on employment conditions can be found at http://www.tue.nl/en/university/working-at-tue/working-conditions.

For additional information, contact dr. S. Nijdam (s.nijdam@tue.nl), Department of Applied Physics or dr. J. van Oijen (j.a.v.oijen@tue.nl), Department of Mechanical Engineering.

If interested, please use the 'Apply now' button to send us:

  • Your CV.
  • A brief motivation letter (max. 1 page).
  • If available, your bachelor or master thesis.
  • A list of courses and grades during relevant studies, including GPA in its local scale.
  • Name and contact details (email and phone) of at least one scientist able and willing to provide references.

Selection starts immediately. Positions open until filled.

Please keep in mind; you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each.