PhD Thesis – Study of charged particles transport in a high emission density plasma switch

SuperGrid Institute

Posted 2 months ago

SuperGrid Institute brings together 180 employees, of 28 different nationalities who work together within a dynamic environment in the city of Lyon. As an independent research and innovation centre, we are dedicated to developing technologies for the future power transmission system, the “supergrid”, including HVDC & MVDC technologies.

As a multi-disciplinary research centre with advanced simulation capabilities & multiple test platforms, including numerous associated laboratories, SuperGrid Institute uses its comprehensive expertise to provide a wide range of services and solutions to support our customers in developing power systems, equipment and components. We specialise in system architecture and work on ensuring network security and stability while allowing for the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources. Find out more by visiting our website:


General Context

We are currently focussing on the development of different circuit breaker technologies and protection strategies of the future electrical network. Fault current management on High-Voltage Direct Currrent grids is a challenging development, as no mature products are currently proposed on the market. Moreover, some existing devices only partially demonstrates the requirements. Our industrial concern aims to integrate in a new system a plasma switch, the keys functions to ensure the requested protection of the HVDC grid. This PhD subject is based on an experimental evaluation and improvement of the electrical figures of the plasma switch device.

Objectives / Missions

This PhD subject is based on an ongoing study where an experimental frontier between a glow mode (>10A/cm²) and an arc (<100A/cm²) has been established. This frontier is strongly dependent on the magnetic field close to the cathode, raw material and electrical pulse generation methods. This first technical concern on the emission processes is close to state of this art and could be used for the next development step.

The next development phase is dedicated to charged particles transports through grids. In the frame if this PhD subject, we want to quantify in energies and nature (neutrals, ionized species, gas/cathode contribution) transport of particles along the whole path: from cathode sources, through the grids and to the anode. Obviously, this quantification should be linked with the emission modes at the cathode.

The work will be based on a joint engineering activity between an industrial partner (SuperGrid Institute, Villeurbanne) and an academic partner (LPGP, Université Paris-Saclay, Orsay). To ease the analysis, reduced prototype models will be tested in dedicated vacuum chambers.

The first activity to be performed by the PhD student will consist to reproduce simpler emission tests in diode mode. A bibliographic overview will complete theorical knowledges on emission and transport of electrical grids located in the vicinity of the cathode (triode, tetrode).

In parallel, it will be requested to design, assemble and test electrical circuits for the electrodes.

Secondly, the quantification will be support with the implementation of non-intrusive optical diagnostics (high-speed imaging, absorption spectroscopy, TD-LAS…) in order to get a more accurate knowledge on the concerned sub-assemblies. The experimental results gathered on both premises, will be subject to exchanges with the team in charge of the project, participation to international conferences and technical articles redaction, patent publication for most promising results.

Candidate Profile

For this technological development, we are seeking a candidate highly motivated with multi-physics measurements. This PhD subject will be held at SuperGrid Institute (25%) and in the Laboratoire de Physique des Gaz et des Plasmas (75%).

Engineer or Master 2 specialized in Physics, Plasma, Measurements. A prior experience in physical vapor deposition, optical spectroscopy, plasma diagnostics would be considered as an advantage.

Other information

SuperGrid Institute is an equal opportunities employer. We respect and value the diversity of our employees, their backgrounds and their professional experience. We believe in equality and take affirmative action to ensure that discrimination has no place in our recruitment process nor our company.

Job Features

Job CategoryPhD thesis
Contract TypeFixed-term
Duration3 years
Start DateNovember 2021
Place of workLPGP, Orsay (91) / SuperGrid Institute, Villeurbanne (69)
Required qualificationsMaster 2

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