87302 - Plasma Technologies for Environmental, Biomedical and Energy Applications t

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

This course aims to provide the basis for an understanding of the problems related to the ever increasing use of plasmas in the biomedical, energy and environmental fields, indicating the physical and engineering principles underlying the most important applications, already consolidated or under development.

Course contents

Applications in the biomedical, energy and environmental fields are characterized by the common need for innovative and advanced treatments that modify the properties of different materials (which might occur in liquid, solid or gaseous phase and can even be biological materials). Plasma, an ionized gas capable of conducting heat and electricity and consisting of electrons, ions, neutrals and radical species, has an extraordinary potential linked to its numerous active agents that give the technology the versatility required to adapt even to the most innovative and complex applications. Controlling plasma characteristics and optimizing them for specific applications requires physical and engineering skills combined with a strongly interdisciplinary problem-solving approach.

After a brief introduction aimed at providing students with some fundamental information on the nature of plasmas, the course will focus on its applications in three sectors: biomedical, energy and environmental. In particular, some of the following topics will be illustrated, starting from the most consolidated technologies and continuing with the most innovative ones:

Fundamentals on plasma production of active species and radiation (UV radiation, electric and magnetic fields)

  1.  Generation of non equilibrium plasmas at atmospheric and low pressure.
  2. Plasma constituents: UV radiation, electromagnetic fields, electrons, ions, neutrals, heat.
  3. Plasma interaction with matter.

Plasma applications in the biomedical field

  1. Systems for the production of ozone and other reactive species for the disinfection of solids and liquids.
  2. Plasma technologies for the containment of nosocomial infections (bacterial sterilization and abatement systems).
  3. Plasmas for the superficial modification of materials used in the medical field: cleaning, deposition, sputtering and ion implantation.
  4. Biomedical devices based on plasma technology used for the coagulation and cauterization of wounds, as surgical instrumentation or to support dermatological therapies.
  5. Direct and liquid mediated plasma treatments for the treatment of tumor tissues, dental applications and the disinfection of chronic wounds and ulcers.

Plasma applications in the energy field

  1. Plasma catalysis for CO2 abatement and syngas production (CO + O2).
  2. Plasma-assisted combustion: performance increase and control of polluting emissions (in engines and gas turbines).
  3. Valorization of waste gases from conventional and innovative oil extraction processes (liquefaction and plasma assisted reforming).

Plasma applications in the environmental field

  1. Plasma assisted abatement of organic and inorganic pollutants in liquid phase (with particular attention to the use of these processes for energy applications).
  2. Plasma assisted plasma abatement of organic and inorganic pollutants in gaseous phase.
  3. Processes based on thermal plasmas for the inertization of wastes (nuclear medium-low activity or fly-ashes from waste-to-energy processes).


  • Copies of the material used during lectures
  • A. Fridman, Plasma Chemistry, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK (2008)
  • M. Laroussi, M.G. Kong, G. Morfill,W. Stolz, Plasma medicine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK (2012)
  • R. d'Agostino, P. Favia, C. Oehr, M. R. Wertheimer, Plasma Processes and Polymers, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA (2005)
  • V. I. Parvulescu, M. Magureanu, P. Lukes. Plasma Chemistry and Catalysis in Gases and Liquids, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA (2012)

Teaching methods

Lectures with overhead projector and slides

Assessment methods

Oral examination

Teaching tools

Access to the Laboratory of Materials Technology and Industrial Applications of Plasmas at DIN, Via Terracini 24, Bologna

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Matteo Gherardi

See the website of Romolo Laurita

See the website of Romolo Laurita


Good health and well-being Clean water and sanitation Affordable and clean energy

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.