Professor Christine Charles

Charles, Christine profile
Position Professor
Department Nuclear Physics & Accelerator Applications
Research group Space plasma power and propulsion group
Office phone (02) 612 58068
Office Oliphant 3 21


Professor Christine Charles is Head of the Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion laboratory at the Australian National University. Born in Brittany (France), she has a French Engineering degree in applied physics, a Ph D in plasma physics, a French Habilitation thesis in materials science and a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz from the ANU (Jazz drums and Jazz arrangement and composition). For the past twenty years, she has been working on experimental expanding plasmas (hot ionized gases) and their applications to electric propulsion, microelectronics and optoelectronics, astrophysical plasmas, and more recently to the development of fuel cells for the hydrogen economy. She is the inventor of the Helicon Double Layer Thruster, a new type of space engine, which applications include satellite station keeping or interplanetary space travel. In 2009 Christine received the Australian Institute of Physics Women in Physics Lecturer of the year award. She actively popularises her science on ABC Catalyst, Discovery Channel, radio and public lectures. She enjoys playing music, surfing, canoeing, cycling and bushwalking.

Upcoming GEM XII conference:

HDLT Plasma Thruster Web Page

Canoeing Web Page

Personal Web Page

2009 Research Highlights:

Charles Christine
Plasmas for spacecraft propulsion
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 42, 18 pages (2009) 163001

Charles Christine, Boswell Rod, Hawkins Rhys
Oblique Double Layers: A Comparison between Terrestrial and Auroral Measurements
Physical Review Letters 103, 4 pages (2009) 095001

Research interests

Plasma Propulsion:

Helicon double layer thruster (HDLT plasma thruster)

Current-free Electric Double Layers

Expanding magnetised and non-magnetised plasmas

Ion sources

Space plasmas:

Current-free Electric Double Layers

Acceleration of the Solar Wind

Particle Acceleration in the Earth Aurora

Plasma Processing:

Deposition, Etching and Sputtering of insulators, metals and semi-conductors

Hydrogen Fuel Cells:

Plasma-based Fuel Cells electrodes

Carbon Nano Tubes for Fuel Cells electrodes

Plasma Modelling:

Plasma sheaths

PLasma expansion

Plasma-surface interaction

Electric double layers