3rd cycle - PhD

PhD students are enrolled in the Physics or in the Technological Engineering Physics PhD degrees at IST, with research activity developed at Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN). Recently, most of our PhD students have been framed by the Advanced Program in Plasma Science and Engineering (APPLAuSE) funded by FCT.

APPLAuSE is a student-oriented highly-modular PhD program (4-years duration), designed to enhance each student’s capabilities and maximize his/her potential. The first year of APPLAuSE comprises a semester of intensive modules, providing the scientific/technological background and exposing the students to the most exciting research topics, and a semester where students are enrolled in laboratory rotations at the several facilities operated by IPFN.

The modules are organized into four courses (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)

From the second to the fourth year the student is enrolled in the thesis project. This period includes a one-year secondment abroad 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 PhD program, and contact possible supervisors for funding opportunities in ongoing research projects.

2nd cycle - MSc

MSc students wishing to further specialize in the field of our scientific area should be enrolled in the Engineering Physics degree 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
  • Optics and Lasers
  • Data acquisition systems
  • Advanced Plasma Physics
  • Nuclear Fusion
  • Diagnostic Techniques in Plasmas
  • Plasma Techologies for Materials Processing
  • Low Temperature Plasmas
  • Advanced Topics in Computational Physics
  • Real Time Control

Every year, the scientific area awards the "MSc Thesis Prize in Plasma Physics, Lasers and Nuclear Fusion" to the students that have been supervised by a faculty member of the area and have simultaneously completed at least 18 ECTS credits from the list of suggested courses, including "Plasma Physics and Technology".

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.

Thesis opportunities

The faculty members offer PhD and Msc thesis topics in their fields of expertise and in a wide range of topics. Please check their personal webpages to learn about possible research directions. Examples of recent PhD and MSc thesis are presented below.

PhD Thesis

  • Celso P. João, Diode-Pumped Solid-State Lasers for Optical Parametric Amplification Pumping, 2016
  • Eduardo Paulo Alves, Microphysical plasma processes: in silico studies and a route to the required laser intensities for laboratory exploration, 2015
  • Hugo Pires, Intense Ultra-Short Laser Pulse Generation, 2015
  • José de Almeida Vicente, Plasma Filament Studies Using Microwave Reflectometry on the Asdex Upgrade Tokamak, 2015
  • Marija Vranic, Extreme laser-matter interactions: multi-scale PIC modelling from the classical to the QED perspective, 2015
  • Elisabetta Boella, Ion acceleration driven by intense laser pulses, 2014
  • Filomena Ribeiro, Personalized pseudophakic model (PhD in Bioengineering), 2014
  • Joana Luís Martins, Radiation processes in laser driven laboratory scenarios, 2014
  • Ivo de Bragança, Análise compreensiva do processo de maquinagem por electroerosão (PhD in Mechanical Engineering), 2013
  • Ivo Carvalho, Real-time control for long ohmic alternate current discharges, 2013
  • Nuno Lemos, Ionization effects in laser plasma interaction, 2013
  • Frederico Fíuza, Multi-scale PIC modeling of high energy density scenarios: from laboratory to astrophysics, 2012
  • Paulo Jorge Rodrigues, Tokamak equilibria with toroidal current reversal, 2012

MSc Thesis

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 MEFT 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:

  • 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