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Theoretical & Computational Plasma Physics at U of S

Work is being done in the following areas:

Magnetic Fusion (Hirose, Smolyakov)

Recent theoretical contributions to magnetic fusion research include: (a) linear stability analyses of the kinetic ballooning mode, electromagnetic drift type mode and finite beta effects on those modes, (b) nonlinear saturation of drift type modes, (c) strong turbulence theory, and (d) Hall MHD. A common objective of these studies is to provide a better understanding of transport in tokamaks which may ultimately lead to control of plasma instabilities and realization of more compact tokamak reactors.

Theory of inductively coupled plasmas: (Smolyakov)

Inductively coupled discharges are widely used plasma sources for material processing reactors, electrode-less RF (radio-frequency) lighting devices, and plasma spectrometers. We study nonlinear and anomalous skin effects in such discharges with a goal of developing new, more efficient plasma sources.

Magnetohydrodynamics of plasmas (Smolyakov)

Also with mass flow with applications to astrophysical plasmas. This research project aims to clarify the mechanism of the angular momentum transport due to magnetohydrodynamic instabilities in high beta plasmas such as plasmas in accretion disks around the black holes as well as to investigate whether similar instabilities may be operative in colder protostellar disks and winds. We also study the effects of convective instabilities that may exist in a stratified plasma that is too weakly ionized for magnetorotational instabilities.

Hall MHD: (Hirose, Ito)

Hall MHD approximation often provides convenient approximation for more accurate two-fluid description of high temperature plasmas. Its validity should be checked in terms of a kinetic theory. For low frequency, long wavelength MHD waves, the dispersion relation based on isotropic Hall MHD approximation has been compared with a fully kinetic dispersion relation. Significant discrepancy arises because of the isotropic plasma compressibility assumed in Hall MHD.

Theoretical & Computational