Foundations of machine learning for low-temperature plasmas: methods and case studies

Angelo D. Bonzanini, Ketong Shao, David B. Graves, Satoshi Hamaguchi, Ali Mesbah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence have proven to be an invaluable tool in tackling a vast array of scientific, engineering, and societal problems. The main drivers behind the recent proliferation of ML in practically all aspects of science and technology can be attributed to: (a) improved data acquisition and inexpensive data storage; (b) exponential growth in computing power; and (c) availability of open-source software and resources that have made the use of state-of-the-art ML algorithms widely accessible. The impact of ML on the field of low-temperature plasmas (LTPs) could be particularly significant in the emerging applications that involve plasma treatment of complex interfaces in areas ranging from the manufacture of microelectronics and processing of quantum materials, to the LTP-driven electrification of the chemical industry, and to medicine and biotechnology. This is primarily due to the complex and poorly-understood nature of the plasma-surface interactions in these applications that pose unique challenges to the modeling, diagnostics, and predictive control of LTPs. As the use of ML is becoming more prevalent, it is increasingly paramount for the LTP community to be able to critically analyze and assess the concepts and techniques behind data-driven approaches. To this end, the goal of this paper is to provide a tutorial overview of some of the widely-used ML methods that can be useful, amongst others, for discovering and correlating patterns in the data that may be otherwise impractical to decipher by human intuition alone, for learning multivariable nonlinear data-driven prediction models that are capable of describing the complex behavior of plasma interacting with interfaces, and for guiding the design of experiments to explore the parameter space of plasma-assisted processes in a systematic and resource-efficient manner. We illustrate the utility of various supervised, unsupervised and active learning methods using LTP datasets consisting of commonly-available, information-rich measurements (e.g. optical emission spectra, current-voltage characteristics, scanning electron microscope images, infrared surface temperature measurements, Fourier transform infrared spectra). All the ML demonstrations presented in this paper are carried out using open-source software; the datasets and codes are made publicly available. The FAIR guiding principles for scientific data management and stewardship can accelerate the adoption and development of ML in the LTP community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024003
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • active learning
  • data-driven modeling
  • low-temperature plasmas
  • machine learning
  • optimal design of experiments
  • plasma diagnostics


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