Here’s a video of the talk I gave for the PPPL Heliophysics seminar last week. It covers research on pulsed-power driven experiments on magnetic reconnection and magnetohydrodynamic turbulence, as well as new diagnostics for plasma turbulence and the new PUFFIN pulsed-power facility to be built at MIT.
Magnetic reconnection and magnetised turbulence are ubiquitous phenomena in our magnetised universe. These processes have been carefully studied in the photosphere of the sun, in the solar wind, and in laboratory experiments which can recreate these collisionless or weakly collisional conditions.
However, these phenomena are also important strongly collisional plasmas, in which the mean free path is shorter than the ion and electron skin depths. One example is the convection zone of the sun, the opaque region beneath the photosphere which is difficult to study through observations. Ryutov noted that this regime is also present in dense z-pinches (Ryutov, 2015), which combine intense magnetic fields with high temperatures and densities.
In this talk, I will discuss experiments which use mega-ampere currents to ablate, accelerate and sculpt plasma from initially solid-density targets, creating geometries such as a quasi-two-dimensional reconnection layer in which plasmoids form, or a column of turbulent plasma confined at the axis of an imploding wire-array z-pinch.
I will describe new diagnostics for studying the spectrum of turbulent fluctuations in the density, velocity, temperature and magnetic field, and I will present a new pulsed-power facility for studying magnetised high-energy-density plasmas which will be built at MIT.
[Ryutov, 2015]: “Characterizing the Plasmas of Dense Z-Pinches.” IEEE TPS