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Richard van de Sanden is the director of the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER since 2011) and a Professor at the Department of Applied Physics of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. He received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the Eindhoven University on the topic of the fundamental investigation of an expanding plasma jet. In 1990, he was appointed an Assistant Professor, his main interest being the fundamentals of plasma enhanced deposition and etching. During 1992-1997, he was a Research Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1993, he was on sabbatical leave at AT&T Bell Labs in the group of R. Gottscho and worked on aspect ratio dependent etching. Since then he has worked on fast plasma deposition technology, focusing on the fundamentals of both plasma, as well as on the surface processes occurring in plasma processing of materials. He specializes in applying new advanced diagnostics for gas phase species detection as well as in situ analysis and control of the physical and chemical properties of the materials processed. In 2000, he was appointed a Full Professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

He has authored and co-authored over 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is the co-inventor of > 20 patents. He is a Fellow of AVS, IUPAC and IOP and serves on numerous scientific committees of international conferences. He has consulted for several companies (General Electric, Fujifilm, Novellus, BOC Edwards, Linde Gas Group, Tetrapak) on plasma and thin film deposition technologies. He is a member of AVS, SVC, IOP, AAAS and MRS and has served two times as a Program Chair for the AVS Thin Film Division in 2000 and 2002, as a Chair of the AVS Thin Film Division in 2004 and a (program) chair for the Plasma Science and Technology Division in 2012. In 2006 he became a Program Leader for Micro- and Nano-engineering of Functional Materials at the Materials Innovations Institute (M2i). Since 2005, he is the European Regional Editor of Plasma Sources: Science and Technology and he is on the editorial board of Plasma Processes and Polymers. In 2000, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of California (Santa Barbara) and in 2006, he was a Distinguished Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Minnesota and a Visiting Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. He has lectured at Summer Schools on Plasma Physics and Chemistry and was one of the organizers of the Summer School on Low Temperature Plasma Physics in Bad Honnef which is held each year (until 2011). In 2008 he has won the European William Crookes Plasma Prize. In 2009 he won the Valorisation Prize awarded for his achievements in transferring scientific knowledge to industry. Since 2013 he is a member of the Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.