Thank you for visiting us. Our research group is directed by Professor Venkattraman (Venkatt) Ayyaswamy and is part of the School of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering Graduate Group) at the University of California, Merced. Our group's emphasis is on understanding various aspects of non-equilibrium/non-continuum fluids and plasmas for a wide range of applications. Currently, there is a greater emphasis on computational/theoretical work even though we do experiments in certain focus areas.

Research Interests

  • Stochastic Methods: direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC), particle-in-cell with Monte Carlo collisions (PIC-MCC), Kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC)
  • Non-equilibrium and non-continuum fluid mechanics and plasma engineering.
  • Microfluidics/Microplasma
  • Plasma modeling using OpenFOAM
  • Plasmas for environmental, food, water and energy applications
  • Plasma-biomaterial interactions
  • Waves in microplasmas
  • Modeling plasma-assisted nanomaterial synthesis

Information for Prospective Students

We always welcome qualified graduate students interested in the above areas to join our group. Please apply to the ME graduate program and indicate Prof. Ayyaswamy's name in your application. Please be advised that the nature of research performed in our group requires good programming skills in either FORTRAN or C++.

In some cases, exceptional undergraduate students are offered summer internships for a duration of 10-12 weeks. Please email Prof. Ayyaswamy with your CV and a sample code you wrote (preferably for a mechanical engineering related problem) for potential summer opportunities.


May 2014: Our recent results on ''Theory and analysis of operating modes in microplasmas assisted by field emitting cathodes'' published in the Physics of Plasmas.

Feb 2014: Undergraduate student Jose Buendia joins the group.

Nov 2014: Our review paper ''Microscale gas breakdown: ion-enhanced field emission and the modified Paschen's curve'' published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.

Nov 2014: Graduate student Arghavan presents her results on ''A continuum breakdown parameter based on the characteristic function of the molecular velocity distribution'' at the 67th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in San Francisco, CA.

Oct 2014: Prof. Ayyaswamy gives an invited talk titled ''Theory and design of emission-driven microplasmas for plasma-assisted processes: Tiny devices for large outcomes'' at the 56th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics in New Orleans, LA.

Sept 2014: Graduate student Shadi Zaheri Sarabi joins the group.

Aug 2014: Our recent results on ''Electric field enhancement due to a saw-tooth asperity in a channel and implications on microscale gas breakdown'' published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.

July 2014: The group presents its recent results on ''When do we need an attractive-repulsive intermolecular potential'' and ''Glow and arc modes in field emission driven microplasmas'' in the 29th International Symposium on Rarefied Gas Dynamics in Xi'an, China.

May 2014: The group presents its recent results on ''Breakdown law and current-voltage characteristics of emission-driven microplasmas'' in the 41st International Conference on Plasma Science in Washington DC, USA.

May 2014: Our recent results on ''Generalized criterion for thermo-field emission driven electrical breakdown of gases'' published in the Applied Physics Letters.

Useful External Links