Antoine Salden

Ciao, my name is Antoine a physicist hailing from the Netherlands but currently living in the beautiful city of Trento in Italy and enrolled as ESR 11 in the PIONEER project. During my Bachelor and Master degrees at the University of Eindhoven (TU/e) I discovered both my interest in the physics of plasmas as well as my passion for investigating them in a laboratory. After a brief foray in nuclear fusion research during my Bachelor degree, I found an exciting project at the Plasma and Material Processing group of the TU/e during my Masters. I got involved with studying the dissociation of CO2 in a plasma environment using laser based techniques, by utilizing the phenomenon of Laser Induced Fluorescence.For this research topic I spent a lot of time fiddling in the lab to try to reconcile practical experimental considerations with the actual science that we were striving to perform. Along the way, I found my passion in this way of working as it allowed me to investigate not only the physics but allowed me to also explore, optimize and improve. During a beautiful afternoon enjoying the sun on an afternoon in April (a rarity in the Netherlands!) I was informed of an opportunity to pursue my research further within the PIONEER program. The rest, as they say, is history.

My work now involves investigating the time evolution of the cocktail of (excited) states that occur in a CO2 conversion plasma that is pulsed with a nanosecond duration with spectroscopic techniques.



Overview Pioneer
ESR: 11
Title: Time-resolved detection of transient species in nanosecond repetitively pulsed discharges for CO2 conversion
Home Institution: University of Trento (UNITN)
1st Supervisor: Paolo Tosi
Host Institution: Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e PMP)
2nd Supervisor: Richard Engeln
Industrial Partner: ITRE
Industrial Contact: Monica Secco


Repetitively pulsed discharges, with a nanosecond pulse rise-time and duration, represent the latest developments regarding the use of non-equilibrium plasmas to convert CO2 into useful products, with the very short pulse duration increasing the power delivered to the plasma and maximising its non-equilibrium features.
To gain insight into the chemical processes which lead to value-added products, one has to use time-resolved diagnostics (absorption, emission, and LIF) to observe the temporal evolution of the ongoing chemical kinetics. The final goal of the PhD research will be to combine advanced diagnostics and reactor development in order to optimise the conversion of CO2 to value-added products. In particular,  laser based diagnostics must be developed and applied to the measurement of CO2 dissociation, detection and quantification of reaction intermediates and the monitoring of vibrational excitation in the aformentioned processes. The research will be split between Trento and Eindhoven.

Links with other ESR

  • ESR 2: Direct comparison of ns-discharges configuration and efficiency
  • ESR 3, ESR 4: Comparison with the model results

Expected Results

  • Setting-up specific laser-based diagnostics for time-resolved CO2 conversion.
  • Setting-up specific laser-based diagnostics of transient species
  • Optimisation of the ns discharge geometry and parameters


  • TU/e-PMP: Spectroscopic laser diagnostics
  • ITRE: