Advances in experimental and theoretical studies or laboratory and naturally-occurring high-temperature plasmas, including stability and transport, nonlinear dynamics and turbulence, magnetic reconnection, selfheating of "burning" plasmas, and innovative concepts for advanced fusion systems. Advances in plasma applications, including laser-plasma interactions, nonneutral plasmas, high-intensity accelerators, plasma propulsion, plasma processing, and coherent electromagnetic wave generation.
Spring 2016 Graduate Courses
Seminar in Plasma Physics
Instructors: Allan H. Reiman, William Ming-Wu Tang
Seminar in Observational Astrophysics: Current Research Topics in Astrophysics
Students prepare and deliver presentations on selected topics in observational astronomy, and discuss each other's work.
Instructors: David N. Spergel
Physics of Plasma Propulsion
Focus of this course is on fundamental processes in plasma thrusters for spacecraft propulsion with emphasis on recent research findings. Start with a review of the fundamentals of mass, momentum & energy transport in collisional plasmas, wall effects, & collective (wave) effects, & derive a generalized Ohm's law useful for discussing various plasma thruster concepts. Move to detailed discussions of the acceleration & dissipation mechanisms in Hall thrusters, magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters, pulsed plasma thrusters, & inductive plasma thrusters, & derive expressions for the propulsive efficiencies of each of these concepts.
Instructors: Edgar Yazid Choueiri
Nonlinear Processes in Fluids and Plasmas
A comprehensive introduction to the theory of nonlinear phenomena in fluids and plasmas, with emphasis on turbulence and transport. Experimental phenomenology; fundamental equations, including Navier-Stokes, Vlasov, and gyrokinetic; numerical simulation techniques, including pseudo-spectral and particle-in-cell methods; coherent structures; transition to turbulence; statistical closures, including the wave kinetic equation and direct-interaction approximation; PDF methods and intermittency; variational techniques. Applications from neutral fluids, fusion plasmas, and astrophysics.
Instructors: John Albert Krommes
Laboratory in Plasma Physics
Develop skills, knowledge, and understanding of basic and advanced laboratory techniques used to measure the properties and behavior of plasmas. Representative experiments are: cold-cathode plasma formation and architecture; ambipolar diffusion in afterglow plasmas; Langmuir probe measurements of electron temperature and plasma density; period doubling and transitions to chaos in glow discharges; optical spectroscopy for species identification; microwave interferometry and cavity resonances for plasma density determination; and momentum generated by a plasma thruster.
Instructors: Samuel A. Cohen
Irreversible Processes in Plasmas
Introduction to theory of fluctuations and transport in plasma. Origins of irreversibility. Random walks, Brownian motion, and diffusion; Langevin and Fokker-Planck theory. Fluctuation-dissipation theorem; test-particle superposition principle. Statistical closure problem. Derivation of kinetic equations from BBGKY hierarchy and Klimontovich formalism; properties of plasma collision operators. Classical transport coefficients in magnetized plasmas; Onsager symmetry. Introduction to plasma turbulence, including quasilinear theory. Applications to current problems in plasma research.
Instructors: Gregory Wayne Hammett
Introduction to Classical and Neoclassical Transport and Confinement
The first half of this course intends to provide students with a systematic development of the fundamentals of gyrokinetic (GK) theory, and the second half provides students with an introduction to transport and confinement in magnetically confined plasmas.
Instructors: Hong Qin, William Ming-Wu Tang
High Energy Astrophysics
Selected astrophysical applications of electrodynamics, special and general relativity, nuclear and particle physics. Topics may include synchrotron radiation, comptonization, orbits and accretion in black-hole metrics, radio sources, cosmic rays, and neutrino astropysics.
Instructors: Anatoly Spitkovsky
General Plasma Physics II
This is an introductory graduate course in plasma physics, focusing on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and its extension to weakly collisional or collisionless plasmas. Topics to be covered include: the equations of MHD and extended MHD, the structure of magnetic fields, static and rotating MHD equilibria and their stability, magnetic reconnection, MHD turbulence, and the dynamo effect. Applications are drawn from fusion, heliophysical, and astrophysical plasmas.
Instructors: Hantao Ji
Dynamics of Stellar and Planetary Systems
Galactic structure, morphology and dynamics. Equilibrium and stability of stellar systems. The gravitational N-body problem, relaxation, dynamical friction, and the Fokker-Planck equation. Encounters and mergers of stellar systems. Spiral structure. Elements of planetary dynamics and celestial mechanics.
Instructors: Jeremy J. Goodman