Plasma Kinetics & Processes

PKP team investigates free electron kinetics self-consistently coupled with state-to-state chemical kinetics and with radiation transport in plasmas of interest for aerospace (shock waves, wind tunnels, MHD) energy and environment (nuclear fusion, plasma assisted combustion, CO2 activation and conversion) and of fundamental properties of gas discharges in different regimes.
This activity is strictly connected to the derivation of complete sets of cross sections of electron impact induced processes, using quantum and semiclassical approaches.
Moreover, part of the research activity is focused on thermal plasmas (LTE) calculating thermodynamic and traspor properties of complex mixtures such as those of interest for the atmosphere of solar planets, laser induced plasmas, plasma torches, astrophysical dense plasmas.

In this context, determination of internal structure of atoms and molecules and of collision integrals (transport cross sections) for binary collisions between heave species allows to derive the fundamental information to characterize thermal plasmas, accounting for exotic chemical systems.

In the theoretical investigation some efforts are devoted to explore new computational techniques (GPGPU) annd to develop innovative and high-performance algorithms.

People Involved



CNR Senior Researcher

Group Coordinator



CNR Researcher



CNR Associate -Full Professor at DICATECh

Lucia Daniela


CNR Researcher



CNR Associate – Professor at “Università della Basilicata”



CNR Associate – Full Professor at “Università di Bari”

Facilities & Labs

HPC Cluster and Services @ Bari

Research Lines

Thermal Plasmas

  • Thermodynamics and Transport in Equilibrium Plasmas
  • High-Density Plasmas
  • Laser-induced Plasmas


Gas Discharges

  • Low- & High-Pressure Electric Discharges
  • CO2 Destruction


Plasmas for aerospace

  • Hypersonic Flows
  • Space Plasmas
  • Plasma for Space Propulsion


Elementary Processes in Plasmas

  • Electron-molecule collisions
  • Phys4Entry Database


  1. G Colonna, L. D. Pietanza, A. D’Angola, A. Laricchiuta, A. Di Vita, Electrical conductivity of a methane-air burning plasma under the action of weak electric field, Plasma Sources Science and Technology (2016) in press
  2. G. Colonna, G. D’Ammando, L. D. Pietanza, The role of molecular vibration in nanosecond repetitively pulsed discharges and in DBD’s in hydrogen plasmas, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 25, 054001, (2016); doi:10.1088/0963-0252/25/5/054001
  3. L.D. Pietanza, G. Colonna, V. Laporta, R. Celiberto, G. D’Ammando, A. Laricchiuta, and M. Capitelli, Influence of Electron Molecule Resonant Vibrational Collisions over the Symmetric Mode and Direct Excitation-Dissociation Cross Sections of CO2 on the Electron Energy Distribution Function and Dissociation Mechanisms in Cold Pure CO2 Plasmas, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 120, 2614–2628, (2016); doi: 10.1021/acs.jpca.6b01154
  4. L. D. Pietanza, G. Colonna, G. D’Ammando, A. Laricchiuta, M. Capitelli, Non equilibrium vibrational assisted dissociation and ionization mechanisms in cold CO2 plasmas, Chemical Physics, 468, 44-52, (2016); doi: 10.1016/j.chemphys.2016.01.007
  5. L. D. Pietanza, G. Colonna, G. D’Ammando, A. Laricchiuta, M. Capitelli, Electron energy distribution functions and fractional power transfer in “cold” and excited CO2 discharge and post discharge conditions, Physics of Plasmas, 23, 013515, (2016); doi: 10.1063/1.4940782
  6. M. Capitelli, G. Colonna, G. D’Ammando, K. Hassouni, A. Laricchiuta, L. D. Pietanza, Coupling of Plasma Chemistry, Vibrational Kinetics, Collisional-Radiative Models and Electron Energy Distribution Function Under Non-Equilibrium Conditions, Plasma Processes and Polymers (2016) DOI: 10.1002/ppap.201600109
  7. L. D. Pietanza, G. Colonna, G. D’Ammando, M. Capitelli, Time-dependent coupling of electron energy distribution function, vibrational kinetics of the asymmetric mode of CO2 and dissociation, ionization and electronic excitation kinetics under discharge and post-discharge conditions, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 59 014035 (2016); doi: 10.1088/0741-3335/59/1/014035
  8. V. Laporta, J. Tennyson, R. Celiberto, Calculated low-energy electron-impact vibrational excitation cross sections for CO2 molecule, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 25, 06LT02, (2016); doi:10.1088/0963-0252/25/6/06LT02
  9. A. Laricchiuta, R. Celiberto, M. Capitelli, G. Colonna, Calculation of Electron-Scattering Cross Sections Relevant for Hypersonic Plasma Modeling, Plasma Processes and Polymers, (2016); doi: 10.1002/ppap.201600131
  10. R. Celiberto, I. Armenise, M. Cacciatore, M. Capitelli, F. Esposito, P. Gamallo, R. K. Janev, A. Laganà, V. Laporta, A. Laricchiuta, A. Lombardi, M. Rutigliano, R. Sayós, J. Tennyson, J. M. Wadehra, Atomic and molecular data for spacecraft re-entry plasmas, Plasma Sources Science and Technology (Topical Review), 25, 033004, (2016); doi: 10.1088/0963-0252/25/3/033004
  11. R. Celiberto, K. L. Baluja, R. K. Janev, V. Laporta, Electron-impact dissociation cross sections of vibrationally excited He2+ molecular ion, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 58, 014024, (2016); doi: 10.1088/0741-3335/58/1/014024
  12. G. Colonna, V. Laporta, R. Celiberto, M. Capitelli, J. Tennyson, Non-equilibrium vibrational and electron energy distributions functions in atmospheric nitrogen ns pulsed discharges and µs post-discharges: the role of electron molecule vibrational excitation scaling-laws, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 24, 035004, (2015); doi: 10.1088/0963-0252/24/3/035004
  13. V. Laporta, R. Celiberto, J. Tennyson, Dissociative electron attachment and electron-impact resonant dissociation of vibrationally excited O2 molecules, Physical Review A, 91, 012701, (2015); doi: 10.1103/PhysRevA.91.012701
  14. G. D’Ammando, G. Colonna, M. Capitelli, A. Laricchiuta, Superelastic collisions under low temperature plasma and afterglow conditions: A golden rule to estimate their quantitative effects, Physics of Plasmas, 22, 034501, (2015); doi: 10.1063/1.4913670
  15. L. D. Pietanza, G Colonna, G D’Ammando, A Laricchiuta and M Capitelli, Vibrational excitation and dissociation mechanisms of CO2 under non-equilibrium discharge and post-discharge conditions, Plasma Sources Science and Technology (Fast Track Communication), 24, 042002, (2015); doi: 10.1088/0963-0252/24/4/042002/
  16. G. Colonna, G. D’Ammando, L. D. Pietanza, M. Capitelli, Excited-state kinetics and radiation transport in low-temperature plasmas, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 57, 014009, (2015); doi: 10.1088/0741-3335/57/1/014009
  17. R. Pepe, A. Bonfiglioli, A. D’Angola, G. Colonna, R. Paciorri, An unstructured shock-fitting solver for hypersonic plasma flows in chemical non-equilibrium, Computer Physics Communications, 196, 179–193, (2015); doi: 10.1016/j.cpc.2015.06.005
  18. M. Capitelli, G. Colonna, G. D’Ammando, V. Laporta, A. Laricchiuta, Nonequilibrium dissociation mechanisms in low temperature nitrogen and carbon monoxide plasmas, Chemical Physics, 438, 31-36, (2014); doi: 10.1016/j.chemphys.2014.04.003
  19. G. D’Ammando, M. Capitelli, F. Esposito, A. Laricchiuta, L. D. Pietanza, G. Colonna , The role of radiative reabsorption on the electron energy distribution functions in H2/He plasma expansion through a tapered nozzle, Physics of Plasmas, 21, 093508, (2014); doi: 10.1063/1.4895481
  20. M. Tuttafesta, A. D’Angola, A. Laricchiuta, P. Minelli, M. Capitelli, G. Colonna, GPU and Multi-core based Reaction Ensemble Monte Carlo method for non-ideal thermodynamic systems, Computer Physics Communications, 185, 540–549, (2014); doi: 10.1016/j.cpc.2013.10.017
  21. M. Capitelli, G. Colonna, G. D’Ammando, R. Gaudiuso, L. D. Pietanza, Physical Processes in Optical Emission Spectroscopy, Chapter in Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy in the series Springer Series in Optical Sciences, vol. 182, 31-57, (2014); doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-45085-3_2
  22. V. Laporta, D. A. Little, R. Celiberto, J. Tennyson, Electron-impact resonant vibrational excitation and dissociation processes involving vibrationally excited N2 molecules, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 23, 065002, (2014); doi: 10.1088/0963-0252/23/6/065002

Invited Lectures (2014-2016)

  • M. Capitelli
    Self-consistent vibrational and free electron kinetics for CO2 dissociation in cold plasmas
    69th Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC)
    Rühr-University Bochum, Germany, 10-14 October 2016
  • G. Colonna
    Self-consistent models for aerospace and discharges
    7th International Symposium on Nonequilibrium Processes, Plasma, Combustion and Atmospheric Phenomena (NEPCAP)
    Sochi, Russia, October 02-7, 2016
  • Lucia Daniela Pietanza
    Self-consistent electron energy distribution functions in CO2 discharge and post discharge conditions
    European Physical Society (EPS), 43rd Conference on Plasma Physics
    Leuven, Belgium, July 4-8, 2016
  • A. Laricchiuta (invited), G. Colonna, M. Capitelli, A. V. Kosarim and B. M. Smirnov
    H-H+ Resonant Charge-Exchange in Debye Plasmas
    ICAMDATA 2016
    Gunsan, Republic of Korea, 25-29 September 2016
  • R. Celiberto
    Molecular excitations by electron-impact in non-equilibrium aerospace and fusion plasmas
    28th Summer School and International Symposium on the Physics of Ionized Gases
    Belgrade, Serbia August 29 – September 2 2016
  • R. Celiberto
    Electron-impact processes in aerospace and fusion plasmas
    Bratislava, Slovakia, July 12-16 2016
  • R. Celiberto
    Elementary Processes and Thermodynamic Properties of Hydrogen and Helium Plasmas
    IAEA’s Coordinated Research Project (CRP) in “Atomic and Molecular Data for State-resolved Modelling of Hydrogen and Helium and their Isotopes in Fusion Plasma”
    IAEA Vienna, 2016
  • G. Colonna
    State-to-state collision-radiative models and their applications
    NF-2015 – International School for Students and Young Scientists Non-Equilibrium and High-Temperature Gas Flows Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
    Novosibirsk, Russia, November 09-10, 2015
  • A. Laricchiuta
    Elementary processes for state-to-state kinetic modeling of plasmas
    NF-2015 – International School for Students and Young Scientists Non-Equilibrium and High-Temperature Gas Flows Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
    Novosibirsk, Russia, November 09-10, 2015
  • R. Celiberto
    Electron-impact cross sections in plasma discharges
    42nd European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics
    Lisbon, Portugal, June 22-26 2015
  • G. Colonna
    State-to-state kinetics in CH4/air
    5th EUCASS Aerospace Thematic Workshop: Fundamentals of Aerodynamic Flow and Combustion Control Plasma
    Les Houches Physics School, France, April 12-17 2015
  • A. Laricchiuta (invited), A. D’Angola, M. Capitelli and G. Colonna
    Thermodynamics and transport properties of high-⁠density hydrogen plasma
    Decennial IAEA Technical Meeting on Atomic, Molecular And Plasma-Material Interaction Data for Fusion Science and Technology
    Daejeon, Republic Of Korea, 15-⁠19 December 2014
  • G. Colonna
    Problems and perspectives of state-to-state kinetics for high enthalpy plasma flows
    29th International Conference on Rarefied Gas Dynamics
    Xi’an (China), 13-18 July 2014
  • G. Colonna
    Vibrational Kinetics and Radiation Transport in Low Temperature Plasmas
    41st EPS conference on Plasma Physics
    Berlin (Germany), 23-27 June 2014
  • A. Laricchiuta
    The state-⁠of-⁠the-⁠art description of vibrational-⁠electronic excitations
    MASTER CLASS 2014 Physikzentrum Bad Honnef (Germany), October 10th, 2014
  • A. Laricchiuta
    Elementary Processes in Nitrogen and Air Plasmas
    XXII ESCAMPIG, Greifswald (Germany), July 19th, 2014
  • G. Colonna
    Macroscopic models for non-equilibrium high-enthalpy flows
    Special Session (382-FD-48) Reacting Flows, AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (SciTech2014)
    13-17 January 2014 National Harbor, Maryland (USA)
  • A. Laricchiuta (invited speaker), I. Armenise, M. Cacciatore, R. Celiberto, F. Esposito, P. Gamallo, A. Laganà, V. Laporta, A. Lombardi, S. Orlandini, F. Pirani, M. Rutigliano, R. Sayós, J. Tennyson and M. Capitelli
    Phys4EntryDB: a Database for State-to-State Kinetics of Planetary Atmospheres
    Special Session (382-FD-48) Reacting Flows, AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (SciTech2014)
    13-17 January 2014 National Harbor, Maryland (USA)


Organizational Activity


Technology Transfer
The team research activity has led to the construction of a web-access computational tool EquilTheta, that calculates chemical equilibrium product concentrations, thermodynamic and transport properties for a given mixture in wide temperature and pressure ranges, and is the focus of a business plan for the creation of a CNR-UniBAS spin-off.


Editorial Activity


Apulia Space
G. Colonna, Manager WP A1.6 Space Transport

Latest News

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