Plasma physics

Email address
Research area Fundamental research in atomic physics
Participants in the research work

The electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) ion source of Atomki is devoted to the production and delivery of highly charged plasmas and low-energy ion beams from a wide range of elements.


The ECR ion source is a facility used worldwide as beam injector for large accelerators. At Atomki, however, it is a stand-alone device for producing highly charged plasmas and low-energy ion beams for atomic physics and plasma physics research and for applications. The ion charge in the plasma and in the beam can be varied from 1 up to almost 30 (depending on the element). The beam energy is variable between 50 eV and 800 keV. In the laboratory, numerous atomic and plasma physics investigations are being carried out, e.g., plasma diagnostics, X-ray spectroscopy, the study of ion–surface interactions, the production of new materials. For plasma physics, it is important to know where, why and how the highly charged ions are produced and trapped. The answer to these questions has been sought by different means. Small-size electrostatic electrodes (Langmuir probes) are used to obtain local information on certain plasma parameters. The plasma emits radiation in the infrared, visible light, ultraviolet and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, and numerous such photographs and spectra have been recorded and analyzed in the laboratory. These methods are combined and complemented with computer modelling and simulation. The results obtained so far have shown that these techniques give important new insight into the structure and properties of the highly charged plasmas.