In terms of the industrial use of plasma technologies, Quebec represents about 30% of the total activity in Canada. With respect to scientific manpower and funding, Quebec’s contribution is even higher, exceeding 50% of the total Canadian effort.
The Plasma-Québec network brings together researchers from four Quebec universities (INRS, McGill, Montreal and Sherbrooke) as well as institutes and companies working on a variety of applications. Decades before the creation of Plasma-Québec, numerous projects and developments within the four academic partners had forged a strong culture for plasma research in Quebec.
INRS-ÉMT (Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Energy, Materials and Telecommunications Centre) is an academic research institute that was founded in 1970. The formation offered is limited to graduate study programs. Originally, the plasma research group consisted of four branches: laser fusion, magnetic confinement fusion, fusion reactor technology, and plasma applications. During the last decade the research in the first group has gradually evolved towards laser plasma applications. From 1982 to 1998, the scientists who constituted the three other groups devoted their activities to the TdeV (Tokamak de Varennes). After 1998, the TdeV group was concerned with investigating the physical principles underlying a nuclear fusion power plant. A certain number of these people have decided to apply their work and knowledge to the fields of plasma applications. Their research projects are nowadays centered on surface treatment, thin films fabrication and nanotechnologies.
At the Université de Montréal, the Plasma Physics Group exists since 1963. During the seventies, this group has developped a strong expertise in the field of microwave excitation of plasmas, and electromagnetic surface waves that can be used to sustain plasma columns. The scientists have also applied the development of microwaved-excited plasmas to chemical analysis. During the nineties, the Plasma Physics Groups has deversified its research: applications of the plasmas to the treatment of materials (microcircuit fabrication), sterilization of biomedical devices, detoxification and purification of gases.
The Plasma Technology Research Centre (CRTP) (now CREPE) is an interuniversity research centre grouping Université de Sherbrooke and McGill University. The association was established because of shared academic interests by a group of professors and researchers. They had considered the great potential plasma technology could have in the areas of material treatment, chemical synthesis, extractive metallurgy and toxic waste destruction. The 3 major objectives of the group have been the design and the development of plasma furnaces and torches, the study of transfer phenomena and reaction kinetics at high temperature, and process development and the design of plasma reactors.