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Yacine Babou

Yacine Babou

Doctorate from:
Université d'Orsay Paris XI, France

Department at UC3M:
Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering


CONEX Fellow from 01/12/14 to 13/04/2018


"CRARF - Collisional - Radiative models development and validation for Aerospace Reactive Flows"

Electric propulsion systems (EP) are nowadays routinely employed to propel spacecraft in both commercial and scientific missions by means of a thrusting plasma jet.

Despite decades of research and development, the accurate determination of the main mechanisms governing an optimal  electric power-to-thrust conversion still necessitates substantial effort.

The assessment of breakthrough concepts as well as the optimization of existing technologies both require the reliable understanding of the underlying processes ruling the plasma production, confinement, and acceleration in a plasma jet.

The project addresses the development of top-notch experimental and modeling tools to enhance improvements of EP system performances with respect to mission acceptance requirements.

The objective is to adduce reliable responses to advance EP technologies considered by aerospace engineers into higher level of readiness.


Yacine Babou obtained in 2007 his Ph.D in Plasma Physics at "Université d'Orsay Paris XI". The thesis research, conducted at laboratory "Énergétique Macroscopique et Moléculaire, Combustion", have conjugated experimental and theoretical investigations of non-equilibrium plasmas to produce up-to-date data necessary for aerospace community to tackle the design of spacecraft thermal protection systems.

In the wake of the PhD, he integrated in 2008 as Senior Research Engineer the Aeronautics and Aerospace department of Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics (Belgium).  His prerogatives were to lead research activities involving various plasma facilities to investigate on ground heat flux conditions encountered during an atmospheric entry. 

A substantial part of his scientific commitment is dedicated to the development of breakthrough methods to characterize plasmas flows and high-speed flows: optical emission spectroscopy, tomography, planar-induced-fluorescence...

Scientif Publications:

  • Su, W., D. Bruno, and Y. Babou. State-Specific Modeling of Vibrational Relaxation and Nitric Oxide Formation in Shock-Heated Air. Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer: 1-16, 2017.

Scientific Proceedings:

  • Y. Babou, E. Nieto Martin and P. Fajardo Pena. Simple body force model for Dielectric Barrier Discharge plasma actuator.  Proceedings of 7th European Conference for Aeronautics and AeroSpace Sciences (EUCASS), 2017.
  • Y. Babou, M. Wijnen, J. Navarro Cavalle, P. Fajardo Pena, O. Masset and E. Ahedo Galilea. Optical Emission Spectroscopy diagnostics of helicon plasma thruster operating with Argon. Proceedings of 35th International Electric Propulsion Conference, IEPC-2017-449, 2017.
  • Y. Babou, F. Cannat, D. Lequang and Ch. Rond, Plasma airflow jets diagnosis by means of timeresolved tomography. In: Journal of Physics: Conference Series 2016.
  • W. Su, D. Bruno and Y. Babou. Investigations of vibrational kinetics relaxation within air shock wave plasma. In: Journal of Physics: Conference Series 2016.
  • Y. Babou, F. Cichocki, A. Ahedo. Hyperspectral tomography for aerospace plasma flow investigations In: Proceedings of the 7th international workshop on radiation of high temperature gases in atmospheric entry, Stuttgart-2016.
  • Y. Babou, E. Perez Peman, A. Bultel, P. Boubert and M. Jacquot. Optical characterization of Argon microwave discharge generated at sub-atmospheric pressure. In: Proceedings of the 7th international workshop on radiation of high temperature gases in atmospheric entry, Stuttgart-2016. 
  • W. Su, D. Bruno, Y. Babou. Vibrational Specific Simulation of Nonequilibrium Radiation from shockheated air plasma. In: Proceedings of the 7th international workshop on radiation of high temperature gases in atmospheric entry, Stuttgart-2016.
  • Z. Bouyahyaoui, R. Haoui, Y. Babou. Investigations of reactive flow CO2-N2 mixture behind a strong shock wave. In: Proceedings of the 7th international workshop on radiation of high temperature gases in atmospheric entry, Stuttgart-2016.
  • S. Wei, D. Bruno, and Y. Babou. Vibrational specific simulation of nonequilibrium radiation from shock-heated air. AIP Conference Proceedings. Eds. Andrew Ketsdever, and Henning Struchtrup. Vol. 1786. No. 1. AIP Publishing, 2016.


  • Evaluation of optical tomography technique for plasma thruster plume characterisation. Y. Babou, F. Cichocki, A. Ahedo. Presented in Space Propulsion Conference, Roma, 2016.
  • Characteristics and capabilities of the new EP2 plasma propulsion laboratory. M. Merino, P. Fajardo, J. Navarro, X. Chen, Y. Babou and E. Ahedo. Presented in Space Propulsion Conference, Roma, 2016. 5 CONEX Project Report - CRARF.

Other Dissemination Activities:

  • WG-RHTG meeting, 26-27 May 2016, at Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal. • As a member of the Working Group “Radiation of High Temperature Gas” (WG-RHTG) settled by CNES and ESA.
  • Space Propulsion conference, 5th edition, 2-6 May 2016, in Roma, Italy. • Participation to the Space Propulsion conference.
  • Interview for UC3M News rubrique, 23 May 2016 • For further details please see: Link
  • Working stay at Istituto di Nanotecnologia, 17 October 2 December 2016, at Bari, Italy • In the frame of a collaboration settled in 2015 with Domenico Bruno, researcher at Istituto di Nanotecnologia, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.
  • 7th International RHTG Workshop, 21-25 November 2016, at the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) of the University of Stuttgart. • Participation to the Workshop on Radiation of High Temperature Gases in Atmospheric Entry (WS-RHTG), taking place every two years, and organized by ESA (Technology and Science Directorates) by CNES.
  • 10th International Conference APhM, 5-9 December 2016 , at the Institute for Problems in Mechanics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia. • Participation as member of the program committee and as lecturer to the 10th International Conference on "Aerophysics and Physical Mechanics of Classical and Quantum Systems" (APhM), in Moscow (Russia). For further details please see
  • Visiting professor at laboratory LSPM of Universitè Paris III, From 29 June to 5 July 2015. Grant from the "Institut Francais d'Espagne".
  • "Experimental Investigations of aerospace plasma flows", at "International school for Students and Young Scientits non-equiibrium and High Temperature Gas Flows", Novossibirsk (Russia), 9-10 November 2015.