Plasma Physics Laboratory

Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL)
Official logo of the Plasma Physics Laboratory-NIP

Established late 1980's
Type Research Laboratory
Coordinator Dr. Henry J. Ramos
Adjunct Professor Dr. Roy B. Tumlos
Staff Dr. Luis Ma. Boot
Address Plasma Physics Laboratory, National Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101 Philippines
Website [1]

About Us

Plasma technology has become one of the major and important technologies in the development of materials. In the late 1980's, the Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL) of the National Institute of Physics in U.P. Diliman was established by Dr. Henry J. Ramos to experiment with and develop modest plasma systems in order to acquire practical knowledge and skills to better employ technologies based on plasma physics. With grants extended by various agencies like the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the Office of Research Coordination of the University of the Philippines (ORC-UP), the Engineering and Science Education Program of the Department of Science and Technology (ESEP-DOST), the DOST-Grants-in-Aid, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the PPL has built some major plasma devices over the years.

These facilities have undergone modifications and upgrading to serve as demonstration-of-principle devices for specific applications. For example, the PSTNIS facility has been designed as a source of ions for ion implantation applications. It has been utilized as well for the synthesis of nitrides (TiN, ZrN) on metal substrates. On the other hand, the SPNIS facility has also been used for the formation of TiN on metal substrates. Diamond and diamond-like-carbon (DLC) films on silicon have been deposited using the PECVD device. Various studies have been done on these facilities leading to several publications and conference papers.

Research Machines

Plasma Sputter-Type Negative Ion Source (PSTNIS)

A sequence of accelerators and focusing techniques are employed in the extraction of gas/metal ions produced in a sputter-type ion source. Enhancement of ion yield is tried with noble gases as well as with cesium vapors. The extracted and highly focused beam is studied in terms of its transport properties specifically on techniques of increasing acceleration voltage reaching to several keV. The ion current is expected to increase with increasing acceleration voltage. Acceleration voltages in the order of a few keV and a few hundred nanoamperes of ion current are essential in ion beam implantation and etching applications. Ion beam etching is necessary in the preparation of materials for various investigations such as thinning of samples for transmission electron microscopy or for texturing surfaces in the semiconductor industry. High-energy particles (ions or neutral particles) bombard the specimen in the physical process. Ion beam etching has merits over conventional metallographic etching methods specially when etching composite materials or material compounds. The production of highly energetic ions in this study is the first step towards comprehensive etching tests and parameter studies to be done on various materials.

Group Leaders:

  • Giovanni Malapit, PhD Physics student
  • Christian Lorenz Mahinay, PhD Physics student

Sheet Plasma Negative Ion Source (SPNIS)

The sheet plasma negative ion source (SPNIS) was also designed by Dr. Henry J. Ramos. It is the first plasma facility in the Philippines.

The original SPNIS chamber was made of borosilicate glass until it was upgraded into an all-stainless steel chamber for easier operation and safety. In this manner, the plasma can be operated at higher currents without danger of implosion as would be feared if the chamber was made of glass. In the production region, thermionic electrons are produced by passing current through tungsten filaments. The gas molecules (such as hydrogen, nitrogen, and argon), that are injected into the chamber through the gas inlet port, are ionized due to collision with the thermionic electrons. A large diameter plasma is produced in a dc discharge between the cathode and anode through the two intermediate electrodes. In the extraction region, the usually cylindrical plasma is converted to a sheet configuration using a pair of samarium-cobalt (Sm-Co) permanent magnets with the north poles facing each other. This wide area plasma is focused on a hearth near the anode for application in coating of large area. A titanium disk target is placed at the anode and is sputtered by the plasma for purposes of deposition. There is a port for langmuir probe and a space for the mass analyzer for plasma characterization. In between the two regions are the plasma limiters that provide the magnetic field in the constriction. A coreless electromagnet is enclosed inside the first plasma limiter, while a ferrite magnet is located inside the second plasma limiter.

Preliminary studies on deposition of different cermet on various substrates such as aluminum, stainless steel and copper has been done on this machine. Among the deposited layers are Sn-Bi, TiCN, TiCuN, TiAlN, and TiN.

Group Leaders:

  • Michelle Marie S. Villamayor, PhD Physics student
  • Marcedon Fernandez , PhD Physics student

Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD)

The chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technique is the most popular tool in the deposition of metastable film phase of carbon. A wide variation of this process is now in use. Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and hot-filament chemical vapor deposition (HFCVD) are among the widely used techniques. The interest in these techniques is due to the potential usefulness in producing diamond films suitable for semiconductor, coatings and other applications. In our previous studies, we have developed a facility which demonstrated both techniques for the synthesis of diamond and diamond-like-carbon (DLC) films. In this project, the locally fabricated facility will be upgraded for the preparation of deposition of diamond and DLC thin films intended for industrial applications. The conditions for deposition using the industrial prototype will be determined. For example, the effects of gas mixture, substrate bias and temperature on the type of film produced will be investigated. Standard surface characterization techniques such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) , Raman spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy will be used to confirm the deposits.

The PECVD facility, which is upgraded for better cooling and deposition, is made up mainly of stainless steel. Aluminum electrodes serve as the cathode and anode. Molybdenum cup serves as substrate holder and is placed between the electrodes. Plasma diagnostic is done during deposition with the Langmuir probe. The viewport that is attached in the chamber is also used for spectroscopy and to view the deposition process inside. Thermocouple and ionization gauge are used to observe the substrate temperature and vacuum pressure respectively. The PECVD evolve in a dc discharge plasma process.

Group Leader:

  • Karel Pabelina, PhD Physics student

Gas Discharge Ion Source (GDIS)

A Gas Discharge Ion Beam Source (GDIS) is developed as an example of a low energy ion beam source. Ion beam diagnostics like beam emittance measurement and mass analysis are done to investigate optimum parameters in producing mixed species hydrogen positive ions. By producing a low energy ion beam (H+ and H2+), this source is tested for surface modification applications such as ion beam irradiation on sample polymers. The effects on structural organic polymers such as wood, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyethylene, cellulose materials and others are tried. The ion treatment that the sample surfaces undergo changes their physicochemical properties. The modification is of great significance in the moisture absorption of the material improving its characteristic features like dyeability, anti stain, and other physical characteristics. Present results can be extended to applications on other polymers, bio-organisms and semiconductors. Other gas ions like oxygen, helium and nitrogen are to be irradiated on similar polymers.

Group Leaders:

  • Hernando Siy Salapare, III, PhD Physics student

Atmospheric Microwave Plasma Jet

The plasma jet facility is completely donated by IBF Electronic GmbH & Co. KG. The atmospheric microwave plasma jet operates at 2.45 GHz up to an input power of around 3 kW and gas flow rates of more than 1 lpm. The ignited atmospheric plasmas are contained in a cylindrical dielectric tube with a diameter upto 2 cm. Microwave energy is concentrated in the middle of the dielectric tube with the aid of a tapered waveguide. Plasma filaments and plasma flume have been oberseved at different discharge conditions. The plasma jet facility aims to make plasma processing of industrial materials more easier and faster to implement due to vacuum-free operations. It has been already demonstrated that stainless steel becomes superhydrophilic with plasma jet treatment of just a few seconds.

Group Leaders:

  • Dr. Roy B. Tumlos, PhD
  • Leo Mendel Rosario, PhD Physics student
  • Henry V. Lee, Jr., PhD Physics student
  • Julie Anne S. Ting , PhD Physics student

Electron Cyclotron Resonance Plasma Device (ECR)

Characterizations of a 2.45 GHz/1.5 kW magnetron from a domestic microwave oven were done. Electron temperature (2-3.8 eV) and electron density (109 ?1010 cm-3) measurements of an argon microwave discharge indicate flexibility and plasma uniformity even at millitorr pressures by removing the hexapoles or varying their distances. The source makes a resonant surface with its repulsive double hexapole. magnetic configuration. Magnetic field maps and power delivery for varying hexapole distances are obtained.

Group Leaders:

  • Dr. Roy B. Tumlos, PhD
  • Leo Mendel Rosario, PhD Physics student
  • Henry V. Lee, Jr., PhD Physics student
  • Julie Anne S. Ting , PhD Materials Science Engineering student

Streaming Neutral Gas Ion Source (SNGI)

The system is operated in its arc mode to produce the swan peaks of C2 in a mixed discharge of argon, helium and methane. The conditions in the optimum production of C2 will be determined as it is vital in the synthesis of carbon nanotubes.

Group Leaders:

  • Aleo Paolo Pacho, PhD Physics student
  • Emil Pares, MS Materials Science Engineering student

Atmospheric Microwave Plasma Pencil

The plasma pencil facility was produced through collaborations with IBF Electronic GmbH & Co. KG. The atmospheric microwave plasma pencil operates at 2.45 GHz with a minimum input power of 50 W and gas flow rates of more than 1 lpm. Microwave energy is transported through a coaxial rod and plasma is ignited at its pointed tip. The plasma flames of mixtures of argon with oxygen, nitrogen, or air have a diameter of up to 5 mm and lengths of around 1-2 cm. The lowest temperature attained with the center of the flame is around 60 oC. The plasma pencil is aimed for surface treatments related with biomedical applications. It has already been demonstrated that bond paper becomes superhydrophilic within just a few seconds of treatment of the plasma pencil.

Group Leaders:

  • Dr. Roy B. Tumlos, PhD
  • Leo Mendel Rosario, PhD Physics student
  • Henry V. Lee, Jr., PhD Physics student
  • Julie Anne S. Ting , PhD Materials Science Engineering student


Diagnostic tools and techniques used by the laboratory are the following:

  • Spectroscopy
  • Langmuir Probe
  • Mass Spectroscopy
  • E x B Analyzer

Recent International Publications (2008-2012)

All publications are ISI except when indicated by *


G.M. Malapit, C.L.S. Mahinay, M.D. Poral, H.J. Ramos, "Electrostatic energy analyzer measurements of low energy zirconium beam parameters in a plasma sputter-type negative ion source", American Institute of Physics: Review of Scientific Instruments 83, 02B704 (2012)

M.N. Acda, E.E. Devera, R.J. Cabangon, and H.J. Ramos, "Effects of plasma modification on adhesion properties of wood," International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives 32, 70-75 (2012)


L.M.D. Rosario, J.S. Ting, R.P.B. Viloan, B.A.T. Suarez, M.M.S. Villamayor, R.B. Tumlos, M.N. Soriano, and H.J. Ramos, "High dynamic range imaging of magnetized sheet plasma," IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science 39(11), Part 1, 2492-2493

R. Tumlos, E. Osorio, J. Ting, L. Rosario, A. Ulano, H. Lee, Jr., G. Regalado, and H. Ramos, "Results of the study of chemical-, vacuum drying-, and plasma pre-treatment of coconut (Cocos nucifera) lumber sawdust for the adsorption of methyl red in water solution," Surface Coatings and Technology 205, S425-S429

H.V. Lee, Jr., M.E. Arciaga, L.M. Rosario, J.A. Ting, A. Ulano, R.B. Tumlos, and H.J. Ramos, "A 2.45 GHz microwave air plasma under double-hexapole magnetic field," IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science 39(11), Part 1, 2590-2591

R. Tumlos, J. Ting, E. Osorio, L. Rosario, H. Ramos, A. Ulano, H. Lee, G. Regalado, "Results of the study of chemical-, vacuum drying- and plasma-pretreatment of coconut (Cocos nucifera) lumber sawdust for the adsorption of methyl red in water solution", Surface and Coatings Technology, PSE 2010 Special Issue, July 2011

H. Lee, M. Arciaga, L. Rosario, J. Ting, A. Ulano, R. Tumlos, H. Ramos, "A 2.45 GHz Microwave Air Plasma under a Double-Hexapole Magnetic Field", IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Special Issue- Images in Plasma Science, (tentative issue date: Aug. 2011)

Michelle Marie S. Villamayor, Takashi Nakajima, Henry J. Ramos and Motoi Wada, "Optical Emission Signatures of Dual Planar Magnetron Plasmas for TiO2 Deposition", Plasma Fusion Res. 6, 2406045 (2011)*


J.A.S. Ting, L.M.D. Rosario, A.M. Ulano, H.V. Lee, Jr., H.J. Ramos, and R.B. Tumlos, "Enhancement of chromium (VI) removal by pre-treatments of cocolumber (Cococ nucifera) sawdust: vacuum drying and plasma treatments," World Applied Sciences Journal 8 (2), 241-246 (2010)

M. M. S. Villamayor, J. A. Malinao, V. R. Noguera, and H. J. Ramos, "3D isosurface visualization of electron density and temperature distribution in a magnetized sheet plasma ion source", Plasma and Fusion Research P2-70 154 2010*

L. Jirkovsky and L. Ma. T. Bo-ot, and C. M. Chiang, "MHD from a microscopic concept and onset of turbulence in Hartmann flow", Commun. Theor. Phys. (Beijing, China) 53 (2010) 579-583.


L. Jirkovsky and L. T. Bo-ot, "Application of projection techniques to plasma fluid and onset of turbulence in Hartmann flow", Studia Oecologica, Cislo 1/2009, pp. 66-75

H.S. Salapare III, G.Q. Blantocas, V.R. Noguera, H.J. Ramos, " The porosity and wettability properties of hydrogen ion treated polytetrafluoroethylene," in Contact Angle, Wettability, and Adhesion, Volume 6, Chapter 13, pp. 207-216, Kash L. Mittal (Ed.), VSP/Brill, Leiden (2009)*


H. S. Salapare III, G. Q. Blantocas, V. R. Noguera, and H. J. Ramos "Low-energy hydrogen ion shower (LEHIS) treatment of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) materials" Applied Surface Science 255 (2008) 2951-2957.[2]

M. S. Fernandez, G. Q. Blantocas, and H. J. Ramos, ""Formation of silicon hydride using hyperthermal negative hydrogen ions (H-) extracted from an argon-seeded sheet plasma source", Nuclear Instrum. Methods B 266 (2008) 4987-4993.

M. Arciaga, R. Tumlos, A. Ulano, H. Lee, Jr., R. Lledo, and H. J. Ramos, ""Development of a simple 2.45 GHz microwave plasma with a repulsive double hexapole configuration" Review Scientific Instruments 79 (2008) 093510-1 to 6.

V. R. Noguera, G. Q. Blantocas, and H. J. Ramos, ""Optimized H- extraction in an argon-magnesium seeded magnetized sheet plasma", Nuclear Instrum. Methods B 266 (2008) 2627-2637.

V. R. Noguera and H. J. Ramos, ""Volume generation of H- ions in a magnetized sheet plasma source", IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, 36 (4), Part 1 (2008) 1416-1417.


See Also