3rd cycle - PhD

PhD students are enrolled in the Doctoral Programmes in Physics or Technological Engineering Physics at IST, with research activity developed at Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN). Our PhD students are framed by the Advanced Program in Plasma Science and Engineering (APPLAuSE 2020), which reunites all doctoral training within IPFN, as result of various funding sources and programmes, namely:

  • FCT financial support to IPFN for PhD grants;
  • FCT individual PhD grants;
  • PhD grants funded by IPFN groups;
  • PhD grants funded by other projects for doctoral training (e.g. “La Caixa” and ITN “Pioneer”).

APPLAuSE 2020 is a student-centred highly-modular PhD programme (maximum of 4-years duration), designed to enhance each student’s capabilities and maximize his/her potential. The programme adopts criteria of excellency in the selection procedure, allows the free choice of topic and supervisor for the PhD thesis, and privileges the concept of "cohort", identified with all PhD students (ideally between 3-5) enrolled in each edition of APPLAuSE 2020.

The first year of APPLAuSE 2020 comprises a semester of training, providing scientific/technological background and exposing the students to the most exciting research topics. The training component of APPLAuSE 2020 follows a curricular plan, defined for each student according to the applicable rules.

For specific training in Plasma Physics, Lasers and Nuclear Fusion, the recommended courses are (corresponding to ~20 weeks of training, for a total of 30 ECTS):

  • Fundamentals of Plasma Physics, Nuclear Fusion and Lasers (7.5 ECTS)
  • Diagnostic Methods for Plasmas (7.5 ECTS)
  • Advanced Topics in Plasma Physics, Nuclear Fusion and Lasers (7.5 ECTS)
  • Advanced Computation in Physics and Engineering (7.5 ECTS)
with the latter two being organized around the modular concept of “Laboratory Rotations” at the several facilities operated by IPFN, in addition to the soft-skills courses
  • Physics Seminar (3 ECTS)
  • Soft Skills (1.5 ECTS)
  • Outreach and Teaching Skills-Df (6 ECTS)

After concluding the training component, the student develops the workplan of his/her PhD thesis. The workplan can forecast secondment periods abroad (no longer than 12 months), at one of the international leading research institutions / universities that collaborate with IPFN. Many PhD students are co-supervised by faculty members from other institutions (UCLA, Princeton, MIT, École Polytechnique, Imperial College, EPFL, TU/e, etc.)

Students planning to apply for a PhD at IST in our field should explore the profiles of the faculty members, apply to the APPLAuSE 2020 program, and contact possible supervisors for funding opportunities in ongoing research projects. APPLAuSE 2020 will open one annual call, between September Y and January Y+1, announcing the selection results until March Y+1, for a kick-off in September Y+1.

Examples of PhD theses are presented here.

2nd cycle - MSc

MSc students wishing to further specialize in the field of our scientific area should be enrolled in the Engineering Physics Master which offers a unique portfolio of courses designed to provide a broad training in Physics/Engineering Physics well at the same time allowing for a specialization in the topics where the Physics Department has relevant scientific expertise and contributions.

Students wishing to obtain a specialization in the topics of this exciting area should design their options to include:

  • Plasma Physics and Technology
  • Diagnostic Techniques in Plasmas
  • Optics and Lasers
  • Advanced Plasma Physics
  • Nuclear Fusion
  • Low Temperature Plasmas
  • Nuclear Fusion Reactors
  • Plasma Techologies for Materials Processing
  • Advanced Topics in Computational Physics
  • Particle Beam Diagnostics

Examples of MSc theses are presented here.


The AC of Plasmas, Lasers and Nuclear Fusion participates in several Minors at IST.

An academic minor degree refers to a small number of specific subjects, which supplements the defined fields of education of 2nd cycle programmes by preparing distinctive and more complete professionals. It falls under the optional component of each MSc programme and is equal to 18 ECTS credit points. More info available here

Currently, we are involved in

- Minor Contemporary Physics

- Minor Photonic Technologies

with UC Optics and Lasers

The main goal of the course is to provide students with a comprehensive training in the fundamentals of contemporary optics and lasers, as well as their scientific and technological applications. It is intended that students are able to use their knowledge of different descriptions of optics to practical situations, and to identify the potential of lasers for new fields of science and technology, such as optical diagnostics in scientific experiments, nonlinear optics, optical telecommunications and the generation of ultrashort pulses.

We are also involved in

- Minor Space Sciences and Technologies

with a UC Space Physics

This course provides students with the necessary interdisciplinary knowledge and skills:

  • in Fundamental Physics, through the knowledge of elementary principles and of the Physics of Extreme Systems in order to understand and perspective in an integrative and interconnected way the Space environment in its micro and macroscopic aspects;
  • to enable the understanding of the radiation environment and space plasmas and their effects on missions in Earth's orbit and in the exploration of the solar system;
  • to demonstrate the use of technologies associated with Nuclear Physics, Radiation Physics and Plasma Physics in applications for Space in the exploration of the Solar system and in the use of Space.
The students will participate in the operational campaigns of the ESTHER shock-tube, a 20m long facility funded by ESA capable of reproducing high-speed atmospheric entry plasmas with velocities in excess of 10km/s.

1st cycle - Licenciatura

The faculty members teach and coordinate several courses in the degrees offered by IST. To learn more about specific topics do contact a faculty member of our scientific area. The faculty members, through their research groups at IPFN, also provide opportunities for undergraduate research projects. If you are interested, explore the website of the IPFN and its groups and contact directly the faculty members and researchers.

International students

IST is immersed in the welcoming, vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Lisbon. We welcome applications of international students to the programs at IST. The MSc and PhD courses at IST are taught in English whenever international students are enrolled and english is the work language for all the research and advanced training activities (e.g. meetings, seminars, internal and external communication). Please refer to the websites of the programs for all the relevant information, including contacts to request further information. MSc: Engineering Physics PhD: Physics and Technological Engineering Physics

The faculty members of the scientific area of Plasmas, Lasers and Nuclear Fusion can also host internships for MSc students wishing to complement their MSc portfolio or their thesis, or wishing to perform their MSc work at IST. These students must guarantee their own funding. Students also wishing to perform part of their PhD at IST should contact directly their envisioned host at IST. There are funding opportunities for PhD students in the fields of research of the scientific area in the framework of the APPLAuSE PhD Program

Nationalities of students supervised by our faculty members


Alumni that have pursued their thesis work under the supervision of our faculty members have pursued or are pursuing exciting careers in institutions as diverse as Princeton University, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Critical Software, Stanford University, Cambridge University, LusoSpace or ICFO Barcelona.

Recent PhD alumni and their career paths:

  • Ligia Diana Amorim (2012-2018)
    Right after: Post-Doctoral Researcher, Stoney Brook University
    Now: Post-Doctoral Researcher, Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Syed Ilyas Waseem Shah (2014-2018)
    Right after: Principal Researcher, NTFP (National Tokamak Fusion Program), Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Jayanath Koliyadu (2014-2018)
    Right after: Post-Doctoral Fellow, KTH Royal Institute of technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • João Loureiro (2014-2019)
    Right after: Scholarship Holder, World Pendulum Alliance [WP@ELAB], IST
  • Diogo Aguiam (2014-2018)
    Right after: Staff Researcher, INL - International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory
  • Ana Inês Dias (2014-2018)
    Right after: Researcher, IPFN, IST-ID
  • Susana Espinho (2014-2018)
    Right after: Post-Doctoral Fellow, IPFN, IST-ID
  • Norberto Catarino (2014-2018)
    Right after: Post-Doctoral Fellow, CTN-IPFN, IST-ID
  • Elisabetta Boella (2010-2016)
    Right after: Postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Marija Vranic (2011-2015)
    Right after: Post doctoral fellow at IPFN
    Now: Researcher at ELI Beamlines, Czech Republic
  • Eduardo Paulo Alves (2008-2015)
    Right after: Postdoctoral fellow at SLAC/Stanford University, USA
  • Joana Luís Martins (2008-2015)
    Right after: Postdoctoral fellow at IPFN
  • Filomena Ribeiro (2008-2014)
    Right after: Head of the Ophthalmology Service at Hospital da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Ivo Carvalho (2009-2013)
    Right after: JET operation, Culham, UK
  • Ivo de Bragança (2004-2013)
    Right after: Assistant Professor at ISEL, Portugal
  • Nuno Lemos (2008-2013)
    Right after: Postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, USA
    Now: Research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA
  • Frederico Fiúza (2007-2012)
    Right after: Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA
  • Paulo Jorge Rodrigues (2008-2012)
    Right after: EFDA fellow at IPFN
  • André Neto (2006-2011)
    Right after: Fusion for Energy CODAC
  • Samuel Martins (2007-2010)
    Right after: Business Analyst at McKinsey Co., Portugal
    Now: Program Officer in Global Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, USA
  • Pedro Carvalho (2006-2010)
    Right after: Group of Engineering and Systems Integration, IPFN
  • José Gregório, 2002-2010
    Right after: Engineer at COMSOL
  • João Santos e Sousa (2002-2010)
    Right after: Researcher at CNRS, France
  • Luís Gargaté (2002-2009)
    Right after: Postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University
    Now: Global Business Development Manager at Critical Software, Portugal