PhD student on computational plasma modeling for plasma assisted combustion

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) has a vacancy in the Multiscale Dynamics research group for a talented PhD student on computational plasma modeling for plasma assisted combustion.

Job description

The Multiscale Dynamics research group is looking for a PhD student on computational modeling of pulsed gas discharges for plasma assisted combustion and high voltage technology.

Combustion remains a key technology in engines and heating systems, but it has a disadvantage: incomplete combustion can generate toxic exhaust gases. An electric discharge or plasma can preprocess the mixture of air and fuel and reform molecules into reactive species and radicals before the gas enters the flame. This could largely improve the combustion process. But what is the most efficient plasma, and how can it be generated?

To address this problem, we have formed a team of experts from applied physics and electrical and mechanical engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology and from CWI Amsterdam. Together we have proposed a new design for plasma treatment of the fuel air mixture, and we have received a grant for experimental and theoretical investigations. Within this larger project, you would develop models on how plasma forms and develops, and how the free electrons of this plasma precisely bombard the gas molecules in the primary activation zone of our new burner, and how this process can be optimized by the form of the dielectric boundaries and the voltage wave form. Project colleagues will model the further chemical and thermal evolution before and in the flame, and they will construct prototypes of the plasma burner and investigate its performance. Together, we will strive to unravel the underlying physical and chemical mechanisms and to optimize the process.

At CWI, you will work with most advanced in-house codes that follow the electron dynamics in an emerging gas plasma in three spatial dimensions, and you will be guided to extend and adjust these models to the needs of the new project. You will join the Multiscale Dynamics group, where your colleagues work on modelling similar plasma processes in high voltage technology, plasma agriculture, lightning physics and space weather.


We are looking for a highly motivated and talented student with affinity for physical modeling. The PhD candidate needs to have a Master degree in (applied) mathematics, (applied) physics, or a related (engineering) field. A good command of computational science or a good understanding of the basic physical mechanisms in electric discharges are a plus.

Candidates are expected to have a very good command of English, and good academic writing and presentation skills.

Terms and conditions PhD Student

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The initial labour agreement will be for a period of 18 months. After a positive evaluation, the agreement will extended by 30 months. The gross monthly salary, for a PhD student on a full time basis, is €2,346 during the first year and increases to €3,007 over the four year period.

Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees.

Please visit our website for more information about our terms of employment:

Applications must be sent before Monday, February 18, 2019 to

Applications should include:

  • your CV,
  • a brief motivation letter (max. 1 page),
  • a list of your MSc courses with grades,
  • scientific publications and Master thesis (if already available) or otherwise the Bachelor thesis and a summary of the Master thesis, and
  • the name, e-mail address and phone number of at least one scientist able and willing to provide references.

 For residents outside the EER-area, a TOEFL English language test might be required.

For more information about the vacancy, please contact prof. Ute Ebert, email or Dr. Jannis Teunissen, email .

For more information about CWI, please visit or watch our video about working at CWI.

About Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is part of the Institutes Organisation of NWO. The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large.

CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 27 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses.

CWI is located at Science Park Amsterdam that is presently developing into a major location of research in the natural sciences in The Netherlands, housing the sciences of the University of Amsterdam and of the Vrije Universiteit as well as several other national research institutes next to CWI.

Research group

For more information about CWI's Multiscale Dynamics group, please check: