PLASMAS IN PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES

The research carried out in our group is focused on studying transient plasmas and electrical discharges that occur within planetary atmospheres.

Presently our research aims at understanding the nature of lightning and lightning-related phenomena such as Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) - Sprites, Elves and Halos - occurring in the Earth mesosphere, and Terrestrial Gamma Ray Flashes (TGF) taking place in the stratosphere of the Earth. We are interested in the study of the fundamental mechanisms underlying their formation and dynamics as well as their possible impact on the chemical and electrical properties of the atmosphere of the Earth.

The group is also involved in the study of atmospheric electricity in other other planets of our Solar system such Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.

The TRAPPA group is a young research group (it was created at the end of 2008) formed by five members, two of whom are research engineers. The group is presently involved in international scientific teams of different missions and projects as, for instance, the Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor (ASIM), which is a mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) approved for launching in late 2017 with the aim of studying TLE and Terrestrial Gamma Flashes (TGFs) from the International Space Station (ISS) and the Coupled Observations from Balloon Related to ASIM and Taranis (COBRAT) project of the French CNES aimed at launching stratospheric balloons to investigate the possible impact of TLEs and TGF in the upper atmosphere of the Earth.

The group grants come from different funding agencies at regional ("Proyectos de Excelencia de la Junta de Andalucía"), national ("Plan Nacional"), European (Research Training Networks) and International level (EOARD-AFOSR).

The group organized the first international scientific workshop on the atmospheric chemistry associated to TLEs held in July 2008 in Granada (Spain). In addition, the group has organized important international scientific conferences in plasma science and technology like, for instance, the XIX edition of the European Sectional Conference on the Atomic and Molecular Physics in Ionized Gases (ESCAMPIG) celebrated in Granada in July 2008. In June 2012, the group organized the first TEA - IS summer school celebrated in Torremolinos, Málaga (Spain) with more than 100 scientists attending the school. More recently, between July 14 and July 19, 2013, the TRAPPA group organized the XXXI edition of the International Conference on Phenomena in Ionized Gases (ICPIG) that was held in Granada with more than 500 plasma scientists attending this prestigious conference.