Mikhail Benilov
  • Departamento de Física, Faculdade de Ciências Exatas e da Engenharia, Universidade da Madeira, Funchal, Portugal
  • Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
e-mail: benilov@uma.pt
Tel.: +351 291 705256


Site Interaction of High-Pressure Arc Plasmas with Thermionic Cathodes

Education and Academic Degrees

June 1968 - graduated from the physical-mathematical school in Moscow
June 1974 - graduated from Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology, with Diploma with Honours
Sep. 1977 - completed postgraduate courses at the above Institute and at the Institute for Mechanics of Lomonosov Moscow State University
Nov. 1978 - degree of Candidate of Physical-Mathematical Sciences (Ph.D.) from Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology
June 1990 - degree of Doctor of Physical-Mathematical Sciences (this is an academic degree superior to Ph.D. which is similar, e.g., to Habilitation in Germany or to Doutor Agregado in Portugal) from the High Commission for Certification of the USSR Council of Ministers
Oct. 1997 - degree of Doutor Agregado from Instituto Superior Técnico da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal)

Professional Career

1977/1990 - Institute for High Temperatures of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow:
   Oct. 1977 - Senior Engineer
   Jan. 1979 - Junior Scientist
   Apr. 1982 - Senior Scientist
   May 1989 - Leading Scientist
1990/1993 - Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany:
   Nov. 1990 - Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
   May 1992 - Research Scientist
1993/ - Universidade da Madeira, Portugal:
   Feb. 1993 - Invited Full Professor
   Nov. 2000 - Full Professor

Scientific Activity

Current research interests: plasma physics, fluid dynamics, computational physics, kinetic theory of gases, nonlinear dissipative structures.
Publications: 148 papers in refereed journals, one review monograph (publications).

The most important recent scientific results A new class of steady-state solutions has been found in the theory of DC glow discharges and cathodes of high-pressure arc discharges. These solutions exist simultaneously with the solution given in textbooks, which describes a discharge mode with a uniform or smooth distribution of current over the cathode surface, and describe modes with different configurations of cathode spots: normal spots on glow cathodes, patterns of multiple spots recently observed on cathodes of glow microdischarges, spots on high-pressure arc cathodes. In particular, these solutions show that cathode spots represent self-organization phenomena and that basic mechanisms of near-cathode space-charge sheath can produce self-organization; another illustration of the richness of the gas discharge science. As far as arc cathodes are concerned, these multiple solutions have proved relevant for industrial applications.

Research projects in the last 10 years

  • Modes of current transfer to cathodes of high-pressure arc discharges and their stability. 2005-2009. Funding: FCT, project POCI(PPCDT)/FIS/60526/2004.
  • Cathode spots in high-pressure DC gas discharges: self-organization phenomena. 2009-2012. Funding: FCT, project PTDC/FIS/68609/2006.
  • Modelling, understanding, and controlling self-organization phenomena in plasma-electrode interaction in gas discharges: from first principles to applications. 2013-2015. Funding: FCT, project PTDC/FIS-PLA/2708/2012.
  • Anode sheath in high xenon pressure gas discharge lamps. 2006-2008. Funding: Philips Technologie GmbH, Germany.
  • Projects on different aspects of physics of high-power vacuum circuit breakers. Since 2009. Funding: Siemens AG, Germany.


Invited talks in the last 5 years

  • Multiple steady-state solutions in the theory of DC glow and arc discharges and simulation of cathode spots, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Jan. 2013.
  • Multiple steady-state solutions in the theory of DC glow and arc discharges and simulation of cathode spots, University of California, San Diego, June 2013.
  • Spots on cathodes of DC glow and arc discharges: self-organization theory and its applications, 78. Jahrestagung der DPG und DPG-Frühjahrstagung, Berlin, March 2014.
  • Multiple steady-state solutions in the theory of dc glow and arc discharges and simulation of cathode spots, All-Russian and Int. Conf. on Low-Temperature Plasma Physics (FNTP) 2014, Kazan', May 2014.
  • Understanding and modelling plasma-cathode interaction: Roots of gaseous and vacuum arcs, spots on glow cathodes, 20th Int. Conf. on Gas Discharges and their Applications, Orleans, France, July 2014.
  • Spots and patterns on electrodes of gas discharges, 68th Gaseous Electronics Conference/9th International Conference on Reactive Plasmas/33rd Symposium on Plasma Processing, Honolulu, HI, USA, Oct. 2015.
  • New results in the theory and modelling of sheaths and near-electrode layers in arc discharges, 27th Symposium on Plasma Physics and Technology, Prague, June 2016.
  • State-of-the-art in the simulation of plasma-electrode interaction in arc discharges, 14th High-Tech Plasma Processes Conference (HTPP 14), Munich, Germany, July 2016.
  • Theory and modelling of plasma-electrode interaction in switching arcs, 3ème édition du Colloque sur les Arcs Electriques (CAE XIII) et le 3ème Workshop Arcs et Contacts Electriques (ACE 2017), Nancy, France, March 2017.
  • The Bohm criterion and modelling of sheaths and near-electrode layers in arc discharges, Int. Conf. on Low-Temperature Plasma Physics (FNTP) 2017, Kazan', RF, June 2017.


Teaching Activity

1980/1984 - lectured at the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology. Subject: Continuum Mechanics.
1993/     - has lectured at Universidade da Madeira. Subjects: General Physics I - Mechanics, General Physics II - Thermodynamics and Molecular Physics, General Physics III- Electricity and Magnetism, General Physics V - Optics, Quantum Mechanics, Continuum Mechanics, Numerical Methods in Physics, Plasma Physics, Asymptotic Methods in Physics.

Supervised 9 Ph. D. theses.

Administrative Activities

Participated in creation of the Department of Physics of Universidade da Madeira. Was the first Chairman of the Department (1996-1998). Has continued to serve as Chairman of the Department of Physics in 2000-2008 and 2011-2016. Member of the General Council of the University of Madeira (since 2013). Chairman of the Assembly of the Faculty of Exact Sciences and Engineering of the University of Madeira (since 2013).

Scientific Societies and Service to Community

Sociedade Portuguesa de Física (member), Institute of Physics UK (Fellow). Has served on the Editorial Board of the international journal Plasma Sources Science and Technology (2004-2016) and International Scientific Committees of European Plasma Conference (HTPP) since 2012 and International Conference on Low-Temperature Plasma Physics since 2014. Has served as session organizer at the IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS) in 2012-2016.

Language Abilities

Russian (first language), Portuguese, English, German.

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