York Plasma Institute Laboratories and Facilities

Plasma Sources

MCF Linear device

Contains a magnetically confined linear plasma device with a plasma column 5 cm in diameter, 1.4 m long, axial magnetic field 0.2 T densities in excess of 1019 m-3 and temperatures up to 10 eV. This source is used for basic plasma studies and the development of instrumentation and plasma diagnostics for tokamaks, especially the UK's MASTU tokamak (at Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire).

MCF Linear Device







Hitachi Etch Tool

Low-pressure plasma etching is extensively used in processing semiconductor materials for the micro-electronics industry 

Plasma Thin-Film Deposition Tool

A Pulsed-Laser Deposition (PLD) setup allows us to deposit thin films. This PLD setup is integrated with an electrically produced plasma (Inductively Coupled Plasma, ICP), to create a novel deposition technique for metal oxide/nitrate thin films: Plasma-Enhanced Pulsed Laser Deposition (PE-PLD). In addition the ICP enables us to study surface functionalisation and modification processes. Our work aims to unravel the underpinning science, allowing us to improve existing deposition techniques and develop new ones. This enables advances in industrial applications as well as academic research.

Nd YAG A high-power Nd:YAG laser interacting with a metal target in a PE-PLD







PE PLDPE-PLD thin film deposition system in action











COST Reference Microplasma Jet

In the frame of COST Action MP1101 ‘Biomedical Applications of Atmospheric Pressure Plasmas’ a micro-scaled atmospheric pressure plasma reference source was developed, enabling researchers around the world to compare data and results. This research device is a simple, robost, inexpensive source allowing diagnostic access to both the plasma core and jet, a suitable geometry for modelling and simulations, and the ability to interact with samples.

Plasma Propulsion

 The electric propulsion (EP) of spacecraft is a developing research field, and has been applied to hundreds of successful space missions. EP sources generate thrust through the acceleration of charged particles. Their relatively high thrust efficiency makes them useful alternatives to chemical rockets and this enables applications including satellite station keeping and space exploration.

There exist several ongoing research challenges in EP. For example, decreasing the thruster size, while maintaining its efficiency and longevity, could significantly decrease cost at launch. We investigate potential solutions to these using a combination of experimental, theoretical and computational approaches.


GEC cell 

This is a flexible and variable a low pressure plasma reference cell capable of operating in capacitive and inductive mode with various gases and applied electrical excitation waveforms with excellent diagnostic access. This source is predominantly used for diagnostic and plasma control strategy development and fundamental process investigations.

GEC Cell













EUV Laser

Extreme ultra-violet (EUV) light has many realised and potential applications.  For example, the fastest computers chips are now processed using EUV light to expose photo-resist.  EUV light can be focused to widths approaching the wavelength of the light enabling small features in photoresist to be exposed.

Laser light penetrates a plasma to the critical density.  The critical density decreases with the square of the wavelength so that extreme ultra-violet laser light (wavelength < 50 nm) can penetrate a solid density plasma.  The work on EUV lasers at YPI uses a capillary discharge in argon plasma to produce laser output at wavelength 46.9 nm.  Work is ongoing to develop the laser for the ablation of micro-features in solids and to understand the physics of the high density plasmas formed by EUV laser ablation.  Click here for more detail.

EUV Laser







Tokamak Remote Control Room

This lab (housed in the main YPI research building) enables participation in tokamak experiments anywhere around the world. It has a videoconference link to the on-site tokamak control room, as well as a suite of hardware and software tools to access and analyse the huge amount of data generated in a typical discharge.

Plasma Methodologies

Fast Imaging

We utilize various fast imaging techniques for measuring the plasma dynamics and benchmarking our simulation tools. These techniques are utilized across plasmas for magnetic confinement fusion, laser plasmas and low-temperature plasmas.

Pico-second laser spectroscopy

Picosecond (~ 30 ps) laser pulses, in conjunction with ps ICCDs, allows very high temporal resolution measurements necessary to for example quantify reactive species concentrations in atmospheric pressure plasmas where collisional quenching results in very short lifetimes of fluorescence signals.


pico second laser











Nano-second laser spectroscopy

Laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) with one and two photons, is a highly sensitive resonant technique, employed for quantifying species densities in plasmas, and provides good spatial resolution.

LED Absorption spectroscopy

Plasma absorption diagnostic techniques based on absorption of photons provide species concentrations e.g. ozone (O3) and hydroxyl (OH) densities. Absorption spectroscopy has the advantage it is not influenced by quenching processes, however, is limited to integrated line-of-sight measurements.  


BOUT++ is a framework for writing fluid and plasma simulations in curvilinear geometry. It is intended to be quite modular, with a variety of numerical methods and time-integration solvers available. BOUT++ is primarily designed and tested with reduced plasma fluid models in mind, but it can evolve any number of equations, with equations appearing in a readable form.












We work closely with Quantemol Ltd on low temperature plasma simulations and make use of the Quantemol-VT and Quantemol-P software, which are based on the Hybrid Plasma Equipment Model (HPEM) and GlobalKin simulation codes developed by Professor Mark Kushner at the University of Michigan. We also collaborate actively with Professor Kushner in the use of these codes. These simulations allow us to understand important processes occurring in low temperature plasmas on a fundamental level. We then use this knowledge to develop advanced control and optimisation strategies to tailor the plasma properties for individual applications. A key aspect of our simulation work is extensive benchmarking against experimental results taken using our suite of advanced plasma diagnostics.












 Our state of the art Particle-in-Cell (PIC) code which is used to model a wide variety of plasma scenarios from microwave heating of tokamak plasmas to quantum electrodynamics processes in ultra-high intensity laser-matter interactions.  EPOCH is an open source modelling tool which is easily extendible and is therefore widely used in the UK plasma community and beyond.








Bio Lab