New generation plasma gun developed in Świerk

Unikatowe w skali światowej źródło plazmy IBIS II
IBIS II, a globally unique plasma source developed in NCBJ
Photo NCBJ

IBIS II, a globally unique plasma source developed in NCBJ, has paved the way to new applications of plasmas in science and technology.

IBIS II new plasma gun is a modernized version of the original construction worked out some time ago in Świerk and protected by several patents. It has been developed by NCBJ physicists and engineers within the Development of Ionizing Radiation-Based Technologies in NCBJ Świerk project framework. The device has opened up some new development paths in pure research on high temperature plasmas, as well as made possible to modify surfaces of engineering materials for applications in technology in some innovative ways.

Very high temperature (even as high as 100 million degrees) is an important feature of plasmas generated by the IBIS II device. Also, high turbulence of the plasmas means that some of the generated particles reach even higher energies. Possibility to increase intensity of plasma turbulences in order to more cost-effectively accelerate particles without a need to build and operate specialized accelerating structures will be one of the research topics to be studied at new IBIS.

„The fact that IBIS generates plasmas in high vacuum rather than in relatively dense gaseous media is its fundamental advantage, not featured by any of the other plasma generating devices operated in the world. Such conditions resemble those prevailing in deep space” – points out Dr Cezary Pochrybniak, NCBJ Plasma/Ion Beam Technology Division Head and leader of the project.

Plasma interactions with surfaces of solids at conditions far from thermodynamic equilibrium are another important field of research. Such interactions usually produce modifications of surface properties unattainable with traditional methods. The topics explored in Świerk include:

  • improvement of metal/ceramic surfaces (increase of steel resistance to high temperature corrosion, improvement of brazing capabilities, making metal-ceramic joints, improvement of adhesion of inter-metallic layers etc.)
  • materials that combine properties of semiconductors and ferromagnetic materials; such materials might store, transmit and compute information (that research area is deemed the future of electronics)
  • improved methods to glue together materials of different internal structures
  • other applications of intense pulsed ion-plasma beams.

„NCBJ has been conducting plasma research and pursing plasma applications for many years. The new plasma gun is a combined effect of our competences and opportunities created by European Union funding” – said Professor Grzegorz Wrochna, NCBJ Director General – „These days opinions that scientists have misused European structural funds (because they do not know how to effectively use infrastructure and equipment bought for the funds) are not unusual. In my opinion it is a marginal issue. Example of our plasma gun shows that Polish scientists do not confine themselves to purchase some equipment: they can also develop their own constructions developing by the way national competences. Challenges that developers of such advanced research facilities must face are an excellent driving force to develop new technologies.”

Accomplishment of the Development of Ionizing Radiation-Based Technologies in NCBJ Świerk project will significantly improve conditions for doing research. The 39,669,532.34 PLN worth project is co-financed by European Union from the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of the Regional Operational Programme for the Mazovia Voivodeship 2007-2013.

See a video clip on plasma gun developed in Świerk:


With its over 1,000 employees, NCBJ is one of the largest research institutes in Poland. Its profile includes support for the nuclear power programme in Poland, pure research in sub-atomic physics (physics of elementary particles, nuclear physics, hot plasma physics etc.), practical applications of nuclear methods, manufacture of equipment for various branches of science and national economy, in particular for medicine. NCBJ operates MARIA, the sole nuclear reactor in Poland, used to produce radioactive isotopes, to radiation-modify various materials, and to conduct research with the use of neutron beams. NCBJ participates in many international research projects, especially on new nuclear-related technologies. Outcomes of research conducted in NCBJ will be implemented in the Świerk Science and Technology Park.

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Unikatowe w skali światowej źródło plazmy IBIS II
Unikatowe w skali światowej źródło plazmy IBIS II