The Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (IPPLM) was founded in 1976. Its research program is placed under the supervision and funding of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. The IPPLM has also been entrusted with the supervision of all research actions in the European Framework in the field of thermonuclear fusion in Poland and has been appointed as the Polish national contact point for EURATOM.

The Magnetized Plasma Physics department of IPPLM has a long experience with plasma devices design, ranging from small plasma accelerators for space propulsion to the 1 MegaJoule PF-1000 plasma focus, one of the largest operating plasma focus in the world. Its field of research covers a variety of plasma discharge related phenomena, with a large activity devoted to pulsed electrical discharges and in particular plasma focus devices. In addition to thermonuclear fusion research, a number of industrial applications of pulsed discharges have been investigated in recent years in the frame of international research programs. As part of this application-oriented strategy, the Plasma Accelerators Group (PAG) has been formed within the department to conduct theoretical and experimental research on plasma/ion sources, which encompasses theory and computer modelling, experimental studies and technological applications of plasma sources, with a particular focus on plasma accelerators for space propulsion.

Relevant experience 

IPPLM’s PAG members, with more than ten years expertise on plasma and ion sources, have authored more than 40 peer-reviewed and conference papers on plasma accelerators for space. Some of these, have become landmark references in the domain, and have suggested several innovative solutions, including an erosion-resistant discharge channel based on a graphite composite which has been internationally patented in partnership with aerospace manufacturer Snecma. PAG has also pioneered the use of the empirical method decomposition for the signal processing of time-resolved plasma thrusters measurements. More recently, a novel method for the control of oscillations in Hall accelerators has been devised and successfully tested on a PPS-100ML thruster. The members of PAG have been involved in a number of international collaborations. They are currently main investigators in contracts with CNRS and with Snecma, and take part in FP7 project “HiPER, High Power Electric propulsion: a Roadmap for the future”.