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Postdoc: Flexible, fast high-voltage pulses for a better environment

Research / Academic
Eindhoven

Description:

Background of the project

Air and water pollution and pesticides use in agriculture pose major threats to humans and the environment. The most promising solution is the use of short high-voltage pulses to generate a plasma to clean air and water and make water disinfecting. For efficient plasma generation, these pulses should have (sub)ns pulse rise time and megawatt peak power. This is currently only possible with spark-gap-based pulse sources. These require significant maintenance and are life-time and pulse-repetition-rate limited. A solution for these problems is urgently needed. In this project we will open up a new regime in pulsed-power science to enable robust and efficient plasma generation for environmental applications by developing a novel solid-state pulse source that has a 1-ns pulse rise time and pulse-shape flexibility for application-control.

The new pulse source will consist of fast semiconductor-switch modules, of which multiple are combined into a new type of compact solid-state Marx generator with variable output voltage (up to 30 kV) and pulse duration (5-100 ns). It will be unique because of the targeted rise time:  1 ns. We want to achieve this fast rise time with special switch-driving circuits and with the new compact Marx generator topology. 3D transient electromagnetic modelling will be used as one of the methods to make this a reality.

The post-doc researcher should research the new Marx generator topology though simulations (circuit simulations and 3D transient electromagnetic simulations in CST microwave studio) and experimental verification with prototypes in the brand new high-voltage lab of the Electrical Energy Systems group (EES) at Eindhoven University of Technology. Besides research on the Marx topology, part of the project will focus on creating the fast solid-state switch modules with MOSFET switches. When the new pulse source has been successfully implemented, a pilot test will be done with a plasma reactor for the generation of plasma-activated water.

Academic and Research Environment

In EES' brand new High-Voltage laboratory (a 14x14x8m Faraday cage) we work on (nanosecond) high-voltage pulse source design, plasmas, the applications and all the intermediate steps in the process. Our main focus is on the development of nanosecond pulsed high-voltage circuits that generate pulses from several kV to hundreds of kV and from less than one nanosecond duration to pulses of several hundreds of nanoseconds duration. These circuits increasingly consist of power electronics components that are aggregated into fast and flexible high-voltage pulse circuits. It is this last area which is the focus of the current project.

Requirements:

We are hiring 1 postdoctoral researcher for 2 years. The candidate should be able bridge the distance between fundamental concepts and theories on the one hand, and practical implementation and evaluation of these concepts on the other hand. A hands-on attitude to practical problems and work experience in a lab is a must. Furthermore, the candidate should have good communication skills and be fluent in English.

The candidate must have PhD degree in Electrical Engineering and preferably have experience with power electronics, pulsed power technology and high-voltage.

Salary Benefits:

We offer an exciting job in the group Electrical Energy Systems of the Eindhoven University of Technology:
  • A full time appointment for 2 years at Eindhoven University of Technology www.tue.nl/en/
  • Gross monthly salaries and conditions are in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU), scale 10, depending on your experience.
  • Interesting cooperation with the high-tech industry in- and outside The Netherlands.
  • An attractive package of benefits, including end-of-year allowance and excellent sport facilities.

  • More information on employment conditions can be found here: www.tue.nl/en/university/working-at-tue/working-conditions/ .
    Work Hours:

    38 hours per week

    Address:

    De Rondom 70