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MIPSE faculty, staff, and students are engaged in a wide variety of research investigating the fundamentals and applications of plasmas on topics ranging from space plasmas to micro-plasmas. We invite you to contact MIPSE members if you want additional information on their research.

Microwave Plasma for Water Purification Resonates in Southern Europe

Experimental setup

Prof. María C. Garcia, of the Universidad de Córdoba (Spain) and international MIPSE member, and her colleagues Prof. Francisco J. Romero-Salguero and Dr. Juan Amaro-Gahete, have received wide European coverage on their recent advancement on microwave plasma water treatment. They recently reported in Chemosphere on a modified design of a surfatron-based reactor to improve microwave-plasma-assisted generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) and degradation of organic compounds in water, a topic that resonates in Southern Europe. Water scarcity issues, both due to the drought affecting several regions of Spain and the contamination of wells and water reservoirs because of agricultural activity, urgently require new methods for water purification.

A modified design of a surfatron-based reactor was utilized to sustain a microwave (2.45 GHz) argon plasmas jet. The inclusion of a thin silicon piece inside the dielectric tube in which the discharge is formed altered the electric field configuration, leading to a plasma with higher gas temperature and electron density. This modification prevented plasma filamentation and facilitated the introduction of moderate amounts of water into the discharge that aids in RONS formation. Compared to the conventional surfatron setup, the new design significantly improved peroxide and nitrate production in deionized water and enhanced the degradation of methylene blue in aqueous solutions. The study highlights the relevance of ·OH species from sample evaporation.

Prof. Garcia with colleagues
(From left-to-right) Prof. María C. Garcia, Prof. Francisco J. Romero-Salguero, Juan Amaro-Gahete.

Citation: Juan Amaro-Gahete, Francisco J. Romero-Salguero, María C. Garcia, “Modified surfatron device to improve microwave-plasma-assisted generation of RONS and methylene blue degradation in water” Chemosphere 349, 140820 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.140820

Links to popular press reports (in Spanish):

Featured Project: ZEUS - The Most Powerful Laser in the U.S.

The ZEUS (Zettawatt-Equivalent Ultrashort Laser System) at the University of Michigan (UM) is a unique research and user facility funded by the National Science Foundation and the UM. ZEUS is providing a testbed where extremely high intensity laser pulses can be utilized to investigate high energy density phenomena, from acceleration of charged particles to converting photons to matter (electron-positron pair production). Available for users now, ZEUS will continue to be improved to become the most powerful laser system in the United States.

Research Areas

Low Temperature Plasmas

Accelerators and Beams

Plasma Propulsion

Materials Processing (Plasmas, Laser)

High Energy Density Plasmas

Environmental and Energy Applications



High Power Microwaves

Biological and Biomedical Applications

Modeling and Simulation Methods

Radiation Transport

Nanotechnology, Microelectronics, MEMS

Electromagnetics and Wave Plasma Interactions

Space and Astrophysical Plasmas

Fundamental Plasma Transport

Laser-Plasma Interactions