The Group

The research carried out by the group of Transient Plasmas in Planetary Atmospheres (TRAPPA) is focused on studying plasmas and electrical discharges that occur within terrestrial planetary atmospheres. Presently our research aims at understanding the nature of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) as, for instance, Sprites and Halos occurring in the Earth mesosphere, as well as their possible impact on the chemical and electrical properties of the atmosphere of the Earth.

In order to get our goals, we follow two approaches. On the one side, we use and develop models to study the atmospheric kinetics and electrodynamics of TLEs and, on the other, we develop instrumentation, partly developed by the Instrumental and Technological Unit (UDIT) of the IAA, to measure TLEs properties to compare with our model predictions.

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 2016 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.


F.J.Gordillo Vázquez
J. Sánchez del Río
A. Luque Estepa
M. Passas Varo
F.C. Parra Rojas