Innovation Award

European Physical Society Plasma Physics Innovation Prize “for technological, industrial or societal applications of research in plasma physics”

The EPS Innovation Prize was established in 2008 by the EPS Plasma Physics Division to recognise and promote the wider benefits to society that arise from the applications of plasma physics research. The work recognised in previous years is diverse. Nominations are welcome from all areas of technology, industry, society or more. Recent awards have included applications in medicine and materials processing.

The prize is awarded for proven applications that can go beyond, but are derived from, plasma physics research. Joint awards are also possible and can be submitted from a group of up to three individuals.

The call for the 2023 round of nominations for the EPS Plasma Physics Innovation Prize is open till the 15th of February, 2023.

Nomination form

Research in Plasma Physics has multiple and rich outcomes with direct or indirect applications. These applications, which are sometimes inconspicuous and even unknown to the layman, can have significant impacts on daily human life as well as on economic activity. Surprisingly, some of the impacts seem far from the basic Plasma Physics research which gave birth to these key original ideas, but nonetheless represent exemplary technological and scientific innovation. Today, applications of Plasma Physics flourish in vastly different domains, such as radioactive waste transmutation, medicine, isotope separation processes (with fundamental applications to cancer therapy), infection treatment, material processing, torch cutting and welding, flat TV screens, lighting systems, thrusters, as well as countless other medical, industrial and engineering applications. Within the general framework of the relationship between “Science and Society”, there is a strong effort on communication between research and public domains in many countries.

The European Physical Society is keenly aware of these important applications. As a dual gesture of stimulation and recognition, a new annual prize was created in 2008 by the Plasma Physics Division of the European Physical Society. This prize targets research which has demonstrably led to robust innovative applications or important effects on society. Nominations in any fields are encouraged.

The prize is given once a year and consists of 3000 euros and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient.

The recognized contribution may be a spin-off (product, process or tool) from research into plasma physics, currently employed outside this original field, for instance in medicine, waste management, material processing, etc. It shall correspond to an existing, proven, application, and not to an ongoing or projected development.

Self-nominations are not allowed.

There are no restrictions for the nationality, the gender or the home institution of the nominees. EPS membership is not required.

Joint awards can be granted to groups of up to 3 researchers.

Previous award winners

Year Winner(s)
2022 Dr Ane Aanesland, Dr Dmytro Rafalskyi and Javier Martínez Martínez (ThrustMe, France) for technological, industrial or societal applications of research in plasma physics; they successfully pioneered the use of iodine-fuelled plasma-based electric propulsion systems for satellites. Iodine is a transformative alternative propellant to xenon, has been recently demonstrated in orbit, and has the potential to ensure the economic and environmental sustainability of the space industry
2019 Hana Barankova and Ladislav Bardos (Angström Laboratory, Uppsala University, Sweden) for their significant contributions to the fundamental understanding, and to novel designs, of hollow cathodes and new processes leading to enhanced performance of functional thin films, as well as to novel work on environmental protection by the conversion of hazardous gases, and on the reduction of energy consumption in industrial processes by means of plasma technology

2018 Arutiun Ehiasarian (Sheffield Hallam University) for the use of plasma physics in coating technology and engineering, through seminal contributions to the science and industrial applications of High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering for substrate pre-treatment and deposition of coatings and thin films
2017 Michel Moisan (Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada) for pioneering contributions to the development and understanding of microwave plasma sources and their applications to materials processing, healthcare and environmental protection
2016 Klaus-Dieter Weltmann and Thomas von Woedtke (Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology, Germany) for their pioneering work in the field of plasma medicine
2014 Christoph Hollenstein for instrumental contributions to the field of Plasma Processes in Industry and for his strong impact in spin-off activities of fusion R&D
2012 Eugen Stamate for the discovery of the modal and discrete focusing effects associated with three-dimensional plasma-sheath-lenses that contributed to ion beam extraction, mass spectrometry, control of the ion flux on substrates and the development of new sensors for plasma and sheath parameters
2011 Alexander Litvak, Keishi Sakamoto and Manfred Kaspar Andreas Thumm for outstanding contributions to the realization of high power gyrotron for multi-megawatt long-pulse electron cyclotron heating and current drive on magnetic confinement nuclear plasma devices
2010 Uwe Czarnetzki for his outstanding contributions in the discovery of the Electrical Asymmetry Effect, its scientific characterization and for its development up to the level of successful industrial application

Emmanuel Marode for breakthrough developments and applications of basic plasma physics tools to address environmental concern

see also EuroPhysics News 41/1 (2010) 04

2008 John Allen and Beatrice Annaratone for their invention of a plasma heating scheme used in an RF plasma reactor, where plasma heating is implemented using the plasma series resonance