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PhD Scholarship: Design of a two-temperature plasma reactor

School of Engineering, University of Warwick

Supervisor: Professor Evgeny Rebrov 

Application deadline: 1st March 2024

Start date: 1 October 2024

Duration: 3.5 years

The project:

The main objective of this project is to simulate and build a plasma system that generates a two-electron temperature discharge that will be used in plasma gas processes like dry reforming of methane (DRM) and NOx production. The modelling will be performed with COMSOL, while experimental validation will be carried out by direct measurements of reactant conversion. Active species identification will be performed with optical emission spectroscopy. The plasma parameters will be obtained from the waveforms. Additionally, coupling the plasma system with a catalyst will be studied.

Nonthermal plasma (NTP) has emerged as a novel technology for chemical applications such as distributed production of fertilizers and making chemicals from CO2. This is turn produces a marked drop in carbon footprints by as much as 90%.

NTP creates an ionized gas within a relatively low-temperature reactor by applying a strong electric field. Currently, in plasma processes involving two gases, such as (DRM) and NOx synthesis from N2 and O2, the reactor is typically operated at a single voltage and frequency. However, each gas has a unique ionization energy and resonates at a certain frequency and power input therefore, a particular amount of electron energy needs to be supplied to each gas. For example, in DRM plasma, methane ignites at a lower breakdown voltage than CO2. This implies that they should be activated separately to achieve the highest energy efficiency in a plasma reactor. The diffusion of two separate plasmas with different temperatures and densities can be used to create the two-electron temperature plasma.

This PhD project is a part of the ERC Synergy project SCOPE.


Candidates must have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree in Engineering, Physics or Physical Chemistry and have prior experience with modelling in MATLAB.


The award will cover tuition fees at the UK fee level plus a tax-free stipend of £18,200 (£21,000 with top-up) per annum for 3.5 years of full-time study. International students are welcome to apply but must meet the fee difference themselves.

How to apply:

Applicants should send a cover letter outlining motivation and suitability for this project, and a full CV to 

If you are successful at the interview, you will be required to fulfil the entry requirements set by the University of Warwick. As soon as you have a University ID number, you will be invited to upload your degree certificate, transcripts, and a personal statement that explains your specific research interests and why you should be considered for this award.

The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.