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Past Seminars

Ph.D. Thesis: Cooling of Nonneutral Electron Plasma

Jinhyung Lee: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Friday April 23 2004, 3:30 - 5:30pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

The cooling process and the thermodynamics of an electron plasma are investigated in strongly magnetized limit where the gyroradius of the electron is small compared with the mean interparticle spacing. In the limit, the transfer of longitudinal and transverse energy nearly vanishes. For such a plasma there is effectively an extra thermodynamic parameter, as the longitudinal and transverse energies are independently conserved. As a cooling process, we introduce microwave cooling to the strongly magnetized electron plasma. Unlike ion plasmas, an electron plasma which has no internal degree of freedom cannot be cooled down below a heat bath temperature. However, the longitudinal cooling can be achieved by energy transfer from the poorly cooled longitudinal degree of freedom to the well cooled (by synchrotron radiation) transverse degree of freedom. A microwave tuned to a frequency below the gyrofrequency forces electrons moving towards the microwave to absorb a microwave photon. Simultaneously the electrons move up one in Landau state and then lose their longitudinal momentum. In this process, the longitudinal temperature of the electron plasma can be decreased. On the basis that the transverse temperature is below the Landau temperature of the plasma, we set up two level transition equations and then derive a Fokker-Planck equation from the two level equations. With an aid of a finite element method (FEM) code for the equation, the cooling times for several values of the magnetic field, the microwave cavity, and the relative detuning frequency from the gyrofrequency, are calculated. Consequently, the optimal values of microwave cavity and detuning frequency from the gyrofrequency, for longitudinal cooling of a strongly magnetized electron plasma with microwave bath, have been found. By applying the optimal values with an appropriate microwave intensity, the best cooling can be obtained. For the electron plasma magnetized with 10T, the cooling time to the solid state is approximately 2 hours.

Wave-particle Interaction Associated With Electron Temperature Gradient (ETG) Driven Turbulence

Srinath Vadlamani: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Friday April 23 2004, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

Our goal is to construct a model for the nonlinear saturation of the ETG instability, which is one possible explanation of observed electron transport in tokamaks. We will present a hamiltonian, in slab geometry, for electron dynamics due to E x B drift and E|| acceleration. We will also present preliminary results of an electron resonant with the ETG mode.

Evidence for the Solid-liquid Phase Transition in Penning Trap Ion Plasmas

Marie J. Jensen: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder & NIST

Friday April 16 2004, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

We have measured the heating rate of laser-cooled ions in a Penning trap using Doppler laser spectroscopy and observed evidence of the solid-liquid phase transition. Between 104 and 106, Be+ ions are trapped in a 4.5 Tesla Penning trap and laser-cooled to around 1 mK, where they form a crystalline plasma. This system is a rigorous realization of a one-component plasma. The ion temperature is measured as a function of time after turning off the laser-cooling and a rapid temperature increase is observed as the plasma undergoes the solid-liquid phase transition. We present evidence that this anomalous heating is caused by a sudden release of energy from a non-thermally excited mode of the plasma, presumably the cyclotron mode of heavier-mass ions surrounding the Be+ ions.

Ph.D. Thesis: Nonlinear Focusing in Particle Accelerators: An Application and Its Associated Dynamics

Kiran Sonnad: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Monday April 12 2004, 3:30 - 5:30pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

The use of nonlinear focusing in particle accelerators has been proposed in a variety of applications. This work proposes and studies yet another application and analyzes the dynamics associated with nonlinear focusing. To begin with, it is proposed that beam halos can be controlled by combining nonlinear focusing and collimation, which is verified by numerical simulations. The study relies on a one dimensional, continuous focusing Particle-in-Cell (PIC) model and a Particle-Core model. Results from the PIC simulations establish the importance of reducing the mismatch of the beam in order to reduce halo formation. It is then shown that nonlinear focusing leads to damping of the beam oscillations thereby reducing the mismatch. This damping is accompanied by emittance growth causing the beam to spread in phase space. To compensate for this, the beam is collimated and further evolution of the beam shows that the halo is not generated. The use of the idealized, one-dimensional, continuous focusing model is justified by analyzing nonlinear alternate gradient focusing systems. The Lie Transform perturbation theory is used to derive an equivalent continuous focusing system for the alternate gradient focusing channel by canonically averaging over the lattice or fast oscillating time scale. The analysis shows the existence of a condition in which the system is azimuthally symmetric in the canonically transformed, slowly oscillating frame. Numerical results show that this condition leads to reduced chaos and improved confinement in the charged particle motion. The Lie Transform analysis is then extended to include space charge effects which enables one to calculate a near equilibrium distribution function which is azimuthally symmetric in the nonlinear lattice.

Ph.D. Thesis: Gyrofluid Modeling of Alfven Waves in Space Plasmas

Samuel T. Jones: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Monday April 12 2004, 1:30 - 3:30pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

Using recent theoretical developments concerning the fluid moments of the gyro-averaged Vlasov equation, we have implemented a high-resolution computational model of Alfv?n wave propagation. We use full electron and ion gyrofluid equations. This model includes electron inertia and ion pressure terms. We include realistic variations in plasma density, temperature and magnetic field. The resulting profiles feature variations of several orders of magnitude. We study how Alfv?n waves propagate from the Earth's magnetosphere into the aurora cusp region of the ionosphere. This model includes a finite electric field parallel to magnetic field lines, and can therefore be used to study the contribution of the Alfv?nic disturbances to the acceleration of charged particles. We reproduce the physical phenomena of ionospheric resonance, dispersive electron acceleration, and cold electron burst acceleration. We also study the propagation of Alfv?nic disturbances originating from the Io torus into the Jovian ionosphere. The Jovian ionospheric resonator is shown as a possible generator of the observed S-burst radiation emitted from the Io magnetic footprint.

Two-fluid Plasma Models - Is MHD Enough?

Linda Sugiyama: MIT

Friday April 02 2004, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

Global studies of magnetically confined plasmas have, up to now, relied primarily on the MHD plasma model to study the macroscopic stability and nonlinear dynamics of large plasma systems. It has long been known that basic two-fluid processes, i.e., allowing the electrons and ions to move independently while keeping the set of velocity-moment equations, have important effects on plasma instabilities. Recent developments in computational power and numerics allow two-fluid and other extended MHD models to be used for nonlinear simulation. Results are presented to show that two-fluid effects change the steady state picture and beta limits of a helical-toroidal fusion plasma (the proposed high beta stellarator NCSX), compared to MHD. Magnetic reconnection is enhanced and becomes an important limiting factor in two-fluids. The results explain a number of puzzling experimental observations in stellarators.

Nonlinear Dynamics of Single Ions in Magnetic Field Reversed Configuration

Alexandra S. Landsman: Princeton University

Friday February 06 2004, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

The nonlinear dynamics of single ions inside the magnetic field reversed configuration (FRC) were investigated. Due to the high nonlinearity in the equations of motion, the behavior of the system is extremely complex, showing different regimes, depending on the values of the conserved azimuthal angular momentum and the geometry of the fusion vessel. The averaged Hamiltonian was used to study the structure of phase space and find the location of major resonances in the nonlinear regime. The condition for the onset of strong chaos was obtained using Chirikov island overlap criteria. A linear regime was found at higher values of azimuthal angular momenta, where the unperturbed Hamiltonian has a form of two uncoupled simple harmonic oscillators.

The Discrete Virial Theorem

James E. Howard: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Friday December 05 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931

Generation of TeraHerz Radiation By Laser-solid Interaction

Peter Messmer: Tech-X Corporation

Friday November 21 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931

Nonlinear Magnetohydrodynamics of AC Helicity Injection

Fatima Ebrahimi: University of Wisconsin

Friday November 14 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931

Auroral Particle Acceleration By Strong Double Layers

Robert Ergun: APS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Friday November 07 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931

Gyrokinetic Simulations of Electromagnetic Turbulence

Scott E. Parker: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Friday October 24 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931

Blob Transport in the Tokamak Scrape-off-layer (SOL)

Dan D'Ippolito: Lodestar Corporation

Friday October 17 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

A growing body of experimental data suggests that non-diffusive radial transport of particles can play a major role in the SOL of tokamaks and other machines. This transport may be associated with the propagation of high density plasma filaments or "blobs" that have been observed in experiments with both fast cameras and probes. Theoretical work has shown that these structures propagate to the wall in the presence of an outwards force F and species- dependent F x B drifts. The transport occurs due to different types of forces in both toroidal and linear machines of greatly varying parameters, so the phenomenon is robust and surprisingly universal. The blob theory is qualitatively consistent with the experimental observations of convective transport, spatial and temporal intermittency, and non-Gaussian statistics in the SOL. Convective transport can be especially important for tokamaks because it reduces the efficiency of the divertor and may be related to the observed density limit on some machines. This talk will discuss the experimental motivation for this work, recent progress in theory and modeling, and some remaining unresolved issues.

Scott H. Robertson: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Friday September 19 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

This fall, Physics 4150, Introduction to Plasma Physics, is being taught with many of the homework problems assigned in Mathcad. The assigned problems are similar to exercises posted online at the course web site (, thus the student's work will consist of downloading and modifying the posted Mathcad spreadsheets. For example, an assigned problem to find the potential created by an array of conductors might require only changing the boundary conditions in a spreadsheet that solves Laplace's equation. There are 25 posted exercises which 1) solve Laplace's and Poisson's equation by relaxation (illustrating Debye shielding), 2) plot the trajectories of magnetic field lines from straight wires and loops using Runge-Kutta (illustrating the dipole, x-points, shear, and rotational transform), 3) solve the Lorentz equations of motion for inhomogeneous magnetic fields by Runge-Kutta (illustrating the mirror force and drifts), 4) find the roots of complex dispersion relations using root finders including cases where the waves are growing or damped, 5) illustrate the principal value integral in the plasma dispersion function, 6) perform ray tracing in an inhomogeneous dielectric in the WKB approximation (illustrating ionospheric reflection), 7) illustrate diffusion, mobility and resistivity using equations of motion with Monte Carlo collisions, and 8) illustrate the ponderomotive force by modeling the Paul ion trap.

Numerical Modeling of Electron Emission from the Walls of High-power Waveguides

Peter Stoltz: Tech-X Corporation

Friday September 12 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

Unwanted electron emission from metal walls influences the operation of vacuum waveguides. If the electron density becomes large enough, the electron plasma can reflect the electromagnetic waves that are supposed to be transmitted. We have performed numerical simulations of the generation of electrons in high-power vacuum waveguides. In particular, we studied parameters relevant to the high-power waveguides at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. An interesting result of our work is ions and neutrals appear to play an important role in the electron emission.

Hybrid Vlasov/fluid Simulations of Coherent Phase-space Structures: Low-cost Approaches to Studying 2-D Plasma Dynamics

David L. Newman: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Friday September 05 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

Kinetic plasma simulations based on direct integration of the Vlasov equations are much quieter than corresponding simulations using particle-in-cell (PIC) methods. However, the computational cost of Vlasov simulations in higher dimensions is steep because the Vlasov equations must be solved on a grid of at least 2xD phase-space dimensions where D is the number of spatial dimensions. Fortunately, there are regimes where a full kinetic treatment is required only along one "dominant" spatial coordinate (e.g., the direction of a beam or background magnetic field), with the perpendicular dynamics either suppressed by a strong magnetic field or adequately modeled by fluid-like methods. A hierarchy of hybrid simulation schemes for different levels of particle magnetization will be presented. Examples from simulations of current-driven double layers and electron holes in the auroral ionosphere will be used to illustrate the various numerical approaches.

Analyzing Pulsed Poloidal Current Drive and Single Helicity in the Reversed-field Pitch

Carl R. Sovinec: University of Wisconsin

Monday August 04 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931

Temperature Measurements of Laser-cooled Ions in a Penning Trap

Marie Jensen: NIST

Friday May 09 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

This talk will describe results of our on-going studies of the temperature and heating rate of trapped and laser-cooled Be+ ions. These studies are mainly motivated by the possibility of producing entangled states of many ions, which could have applications in quantum information processing and possibly lead to an improved microwave frequency standard. In a Penning trap, charged particles are confined by a combination of static electric fields and a uniform magnetic field. Up to ~1 million Be+ ions are trapped in the NIST Penning trap. When laser-cooled down to temperatures below ~10 mK, the trapped ions form a spheroidally shaped crystal with an inter-particle spacing on the order of 20 micron. The temperature of this system can be measured by laser spectroscopy on a single-photon transition in the Be+ ion. We have studied the heating of the ion cloud after that the cooling laser is turned off. We observe a slow increase in the ion temperature from 1 mK to ~10 mK in typically 0.1s followed by a very rapid increase to ~1 K in another 0.1s. Possible heating mechanisms will be discussed and their relative importance assessed. I will argue that the very rapid temperature increase can be attributed to a solid to liquid phase transition.

Implementing Dynamic Load Balancing for VORPAL

Viktor Przebinda: CIPS - University of Colorado at Boulder

Thursday May 08 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

VORPAL is an object-oriented multi-dimensional plasma analysis code written in C++. It can handle both relativistic and non-relativistic plasmas using PIC or fluid models. Dynamic load balancing enables it to optimize its performance in parallel by periodically adjusting a simulation's decomposition at runtime. In this talk I will discuss the work that went into implementing a dynamic load balancing solution for VORPAL and how VORPAL's flexible framework made such a task feasible. Performance issues as well as overall results of the design will be addressed.

Yi-Jiun Su: LASP - University of Colorado at Boulder

Friday May 02 2003, 1:00 - 2:00pm in Gamow Tower, Room F931 Show Abstract

The Alfven wave dominated auroral region has been identified as the region near the open-closed magnetic field line boundary where particle acceleration is dominated by waves rather than by quasi- static potential structures found in the upward (with respect to the Earth) and downward current regions. Various models have been considered to explain the acceleration of electrons by Alfv?n waves in the nightside auroral region. I will present the characteristics of the Alfv?nic auroral region. A linear 1-D gyrofluid simulation [Jones and Parker, 2003] is applied on a dayside auroral field line. A test particle code is used to simulate two electron populations under the influences of Alfv?n waves obtained by the gyrofluid code. The electron distributions obtained from the simulation will be compared with observations from the FAST spacecraft.