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Computational Plasma Physics

Modelling the interaction of laser or particle beams with fully ionized, hot, dense matter poses a considerable computational challenge owing to the extreme relativistic intensities created by the laser, interposed with highly contrasting material properties in the vicinity of the interaction. Simulations in this domain are indispensable for gaining physical insight into absorption and transport phenomena in high intensity laser interactions, providing theoretical support for a number of important applications currently pursued worldwide, such as the Fast Ignitor Fusion concept, femtosecond X-ray sources, and compact ion accelerators.

At JSC we are employ different methods to model the interaction of laser plasma interactions. One is the use of three-dimensional mesh-free plasma simulation (PEPC) to investigate topical issues in high energy-density plasma physics from a fresh perspective, including collective heating and 'whole-target' transport of fast electrons, the origin and acceleration mechanisms of MeV protons, Gigagauss magnetic field generation and the effects of surface inhomogeneity on high harmonic generation. The fully Lagrangian, collisional kinetic approach offered by this model presents a new paradigm in computational plasma physics. This is complemented by the more conventional and proven technique of Particle-in-Cell (BOPS, JuSPIC, EPOCH, KLAPS) simulations.

Furthermore, the development of fast and scalable algorithms for large-scale particle simulations is an important part of our plasma-physical research.

Laser-Produced Light Sources

Laser-Produced Light Sources

Simulations in a relativistic, highly non-linear regime of Laser-plasma interaction make it possible to invesitgate light-sources, e.g. for X-rays. Those provide insight into ultrafast, time-resolved structural dynamics of materials, such as chemical reactions or phase transitions. We employ Particle-in-Cell simulations to reproduce the whole process from high energy electron generation to the emission of X-rays.

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Simulation of Laser Particle Acceleration

Laser Particle Acceleration

High intensity lasers and their interaction with plasmas promise to enable table-top particle accelerators for a wide range of industrial and medical applications. We create detailed 3D and 2D simulations to study the particle evolution.

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Plasma-Surface Interaction

Plasma-Surface Interactions

Magnetic plasma confinement can never be ideal, and is inherently compromised by the necessity to rid the burning plasma of ash products and replace the hydrogen fuel. Moreover, in most devices the plasma core is connected to the vessel walls by a magnetically non-confined outer region, leading to a powerful exchange of matter between the plasma and the solid container. The sheer complexity of this edge physics demands multi-scale, multi-physics modelling.
Together with IEK-4, we are developing models combining Monte Carlo particle transport and plasma chemistry with a self-consistent description of electrostatic fields and gyromotion in the presence of geometrically complex boundaries.

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Algorithms for Computational Plasma Physics

Algorithms for Computational Plasma Physics

Fast Coulomb solvers, Barnes-Hut Tree Code, Particle-In-Cell-code, SMPSs, Exascale Research

Previous research projects

Other research topics that we have investigated in past that show the range of topics we cover.

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