Maik Budde

Hi, my name is Maik. Currently I am PhD student in the Plasma and Materials Processing group at Eindhoven University of Technology. Originally I am from Germany, where I obtained my Bachelor and Master in physics at the Ruhr-University Bochum. During my work I investigated plasma-surface interactions by emulating the plasma treatment using particle beam guns. In those years of learning about and working with plasma I came to one rather simple conclusion: Everything is better with plasma! Conscious that the underlying physics however can be very challenging, I decided to go for a PhD to deepen my understanding. The PIONEER project seemed to be the perfect opportunity to verify my theory about plasma by means of probably one of the biggest challenges for mankind today, the CO2 problem and therefore the climate change.

My work now deals with the efficient vibrational excitation of the CO2 molecule under admixture of additional components like N2 or H2O. During my stay here in Eindhoven I want to investigate the occurring processes by laser-based diagnostics before I am going to model them at my second host institution at IPFN – IST in Lisbon.

Overview placeholder
ESR: 13
Title: Investigating methods to vibrationally excite CO2 with plasma
Home Institution: Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e PMP)
1st Supervisor: Richard Engeln
Host Institution: Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa (IST-IPFN)
2nd Supervisor: Vasco Guerra
Industrial Partner: AFS
Industrial Contact: Florian Brehmer


The panacea for efficient CO2 dissociation is vibrational excitation of CO2, preferentially through the a-symmetric stretch vibration, the ν3. Over the past few years, quite some groups have been trying several plasma routes to efficiently pump CO2-molecules into vibrational states. The main driver of this research is the idea that if efficient dissociation of CO2 is possible, new routes to convert this greenhouse gas into a so-called solar fuel would open up. Triggered by the research efforts on CO2 lasers, we will explore the possibilities of admixing nitrogen to the CO2 plasma to enhance the dissociation efficiency. The aim is to study the plasma chemistry by applying laser-based diagnostic techniques to different CO2-N2 plasmas (TU/e) in parallel with a modeling effort (Lisbon). The diagnostic techniques can be used to determine the absolute densities of molecular species, like CO2, CO and O2, and atomic species like O and N, at high spatial and temporal resolution. The model predictions can be compared with these measurements and used to interpret and understand the discharge. When a firm basis of the plasma chemistry has been established, other phenomena may be investigated, such as the effects on the conversion of CO2 of trace amounts of water and helium, or of different surfaces of catalysts developed in the consortium

Links with other ESRs

  • All ESRs: Comparison of efficiency obtained without N2
  • ESRs 2-4: Comparison with modeling results
  • ESRs 6-10: Use of CO2/N2 plasma in contact with developed catalyst

Expected Results

  • Determining the densities of atomic and molecular species in the CO2/N2 plasma
  • Understanding the importance of the presence of atomic and molecular species in the CO2/N2 plasma on the vibrational excitation
  • Understanding if and how the addition of N2 to a pure CO2 plasma affects the vibrational excitation in CO2
  • Firm basis for a comparison between the plasma-chemistry-model and experiment.


  • IST-IPFN: Coupling of CO2 vibrational kinetics with N2 vibrational kinetics
  • AFS: Possibility and safety constraints of high power sources