2020 ATW, Aerospace Thematic Workshop CANCELLED

Fundamentals of Collisions of Fast Particles with Surfaces

5-10 April 2020, Les Houches School of Physics, France


The 2020 AEROSPACE THEMATIC WORKSHOP on "Fundamentals of of Collisions of Fast Particles with Surfaces" will take place during the week of 5-10 April 2020 at the Les Houches School of Physics, near Mont Blanc and the city of Chamonix in the French Alps. This is the second conference on this topic, in a consecrated series dedicated to the fundamental issues of scientific disciplines relevant to aeronautics and space. The first one had taken place in Aussois in 2016.



We have just had to take the important decision to cancel the workshop due April 5-10. There are two main reasons:

  • we have suffered a number of cancellations from both speakers and regular participants. At first, we could keep up with the first few speaker cancellations by recruiting some replacement lecturers that offered equivalent "scientific coverage" and preserved the general conference oversight. But we were getting to the point where, just four weeks before the conference, about one third of the slots had gone vacant.
  • and then, while the conference site is secluded up the hillside and presents little risk, the travel by train or by air from Paris, Lyon or Geneva was going to constitute a non-negligible danger of exposure. You are a small and precious group of expert people we want to keep alive for our many future workshops ;)

We feel really sorry for notifying you so late, just four weeks before the conference. We do hope this will not cause too much disruption in your activities. Those of you that had paid a registration fee will be promptly refunded.

We'll now have to apply for a new slot on the School's agenda before May. This agenda is already fully booked for this year and for 2021, so we have little chance of getting together there before 2022.



The workshop aims to survey the state of the art of our knowledge in the physics and chemistry of high-speed particle collisions (up to several eV energy) with solid surfaces, namely:

  • surface accommodation and subsurface bond breaking and damage
  • chemical abstraction, oxidisation, etc.
  • atom exchange reactions
  • emission of radiation, absorption of radiation from the hot boundary layer and the reaction products and subsequent photo-chemistry
  • reaction of the ablated elements with the boundary layer of the incoming fluid flow
  • ionisation and plasma formation

All these mechanisms are present in several important applications and industrial domains:

  • Reentry heat shield design and manufacture
  • Energetic material explosive decomposition
  • Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition of semiconductors
  • Erosion of electrodes and insulators in plasma thrusters
  • Action of solar wind, Extreme Ultraviolet optics
  • Divertor interactions in fusion machines.

These issues are of fundamental scientific interest. A fair level of understanding has been reached so far: refined quantum-mechanical approaches are used, sophisticated experimental methodologies have been developed and modelling has reached a high predictive level.

Further progress may ensue from cross fertilisation between the communities concerned. It is the ambition of this workshop to gather their best leaders in order to discuss modelling of the physical-chemical phenomena, experimental diagnostic strategies, development of more resilient heat shields, better tailored explosives or flawless crystalline deposits. Some of these leaders from Europe, Russia and the USA have expressed their interest in the project and are expected to give very enlightening presentations.



All aspects of particle collisions with surfaces are to be covered, including applications, diagnostics and modelling. Young scientists and students are welcome. To stimulate presentation of novel ideas and open discussions, please note that there are no proceedings, that all participants are expected to attend the entire conference and are encouraged to submit posters. The format is very similar to that of Gordon Research conferences, thus allowing plenty of time for informal discussions and interaction between participants.


The conference is organised by:


Scientific Advisory Committee


The programme will feature twenty invited lectures. Presentations will address fundamental issues, experimental challenges, measurement methods and advanced numerical simulation.

Regular participants and speakers invited in 2016 are encouraged to submit communications in poster format for review by the Committee.

To foster the exchange of novel ideas and free discussions, there will be no papers nor proceedings. However, at the speaker’s request, a couple of his prior publications can be posted on the conference site for familiarisation with the topic to be covered.


Invited speakers


A number of prominent scientists have already accepted to deliver plenary lectures. A preliminary list with titles of presentations is given below. The full list will be posted shortly.



  • Loehle Stephan, University of Stuttgart
    High Enthalpy Flow Diagnostics – 3D, transient, spectral and all that
  • Magin Thierry, VKI
    Analysis of meteoroid ablation, from ground simulation to rarefied plasma observation
  • Martin Alexandre, University of Kentucky
    Macroscale integration of microscale phenomena for aerothermodynamic ablation
  • Panerai Francesco, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign
    Imaging High-Temperature Carbon Oxidation in 4D


  • Babaeva Natalia, Joint Institute of High Temperatures RAS
    Synergetic effects of atmospheric pressure plasma interaction with surfaces: induced electric fields and resulting distributions of high energy ions
  • Booth Jean-Paul, LPP Ecole Polytechnique & CNRS
    An experimental investigation of oxygen atom recombination on glass
  • Devid Edwin, DIFFER, Eindhoven, NL & CIDS, Chengdu, PRC
    Plasma driven Boudouard reaction to split CO2 into CO with high yields and energy efficiency
  • Kersten Holger, Kiel University (CAU)
    Determination of momentum  and energy fluxes in plasma surface processing
  • Van de Sanden Richard, DIFFER, Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research
    Effect of energetic particles on plasma-membrane interactions


  • Ahedo Eduardo, University Carlos III de Madrid
    Plasma-surface interaction phenomena in space thrusters
  • Garrigues Laurent, Institut LAPLACE, Toulouse
    Ion wall interactions in electrical thrusters
  • Jorns Ben, University of Michigan
    Prediction and Measurement of Surface Erosion Downstream of the Hall Thruster Plume
  • Wirz  Richard, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
    Title to be finalised

Energetic materials

  • Dogariu Arthur, Princeton University, NJ, USA
    Advanced surface laser diagnostics

Fusion confinement

  • Dittmar Timo, Institut für Energie und Klimaforschung – Plasmaphysik
    The edge plasma in fusion devices : physics and chemistry
  • Djurabekova Flyura, Helsinki  Institute of Physics
    Atomistic modelling of ion-surface interactions: from sputtering to surface modifications
  • Arakcheev  Aleksey, Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk
    Atomistic modelling of ion-surface interactions: from sputtering to surface modifications
  • Bisson Régis, Aix-Marseille University
    Unravelling plasma-wall interaction in fusion reactors with beams - surface experiments


Travel & other practical info

Les Houches School of Physics is a secluded site in the mountains. It features hiking fabulous  trails and skiing (in season) during the afternoon breaks. For those interested in a cable car excursion to Aiguille du Midi, a group tour by bus can be organised. Access is by car, or train + taxi, or shuttle limo from Geneva airport. Please see attached information and consult the School's website.


Registration, fees and relevant documents


To attend the workshop, you need to

- submit a formal application to the Eucass association and pay the conference registration fee;

- pay the cost of local accommodation and catering on the school premises.

The necessary steps are detailed hereunder.

This Application Form must be used to apply for participation in the workshop: DOC or PDF


If you wish to apply, please email the Application Form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. soon because the school capacity is limited and we anticipate that the workshop will be over-subscribed.

When your application is accepted, your room will be reserved by us and you will receive a notification and an invoice via email.


In addition to the workshop fees, there will be a flat rate fee for accommodation, lunches, dinners and coffee breaks of 450 euros (rate from Sunday evening till Friday noon in single room). This fee must be paid directly to the School administration upon arrival.

If you come with a family member, please take notice that there are only a small number of rooms offering double occupancy. Please indicate this on sending the application form.

The formalities are detailed in PAYMENT OF FULL BOARD PDF


This Poster-Submission Form is required if you wish to submit a poster presentation: DOC or PDF
Complete information concerning posters is contained on that form.



Please find below the event fees for the participants categories considered:


Early Bird

After 28th February 2020







CIS resident




Please note that cancellation fees apply if the request comes in the last six weeks before the event.

The fee is to be paid by bank transfer to Beneficiary Eucass:

IBAN BE07 0015 0676 5866

Please be sure to mention “ATW collisions” and your name to facilitate tracking of your payment.



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We look forward to meeting you there!


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