Magnetic Condensation in space, astrophysics and laboratory.

May 18, 2016, 1:45 PM



Prof. Giovanni LAPENTA (KULeuven)


We start from a recent breakthrough, Park, J. et al., Phys. Rev. X 5.2 (2015): 021024: the first experimental demonstration of the transition of a high pressure plasma to a state of magnetic condensate. A magnetic condensate is a system where the magnetic field is completely expelled from a plasma, forming a sharp transition: the plasma behaves like a drop of liquid with a definite surface. This is in sharp difference with regular low pressure plasmas that behave like diffuse clouds. The critical advantage of a magnetic condensate is that particles attempting to leave are reflected back by the boundary: the magnetic field condensate act as a true wall. The confinement is improved by several orders of magnitude, compared to the diffuse state. The experiment mentioned above proved this transition to a better confinement but left a number of point for future investigation:

1) Was the improved confinement seen in the experiment truly caused by magnetic condensation? We want to prove in computer simulation the development of a magnetic condensate as a response of a sufficiently high pressure plasma;

2) We want to measure how good the confinement is by measuring the loss in computer simulations under different conditions;

3) Can we sustain a steady state magnetic condensate via injection of particles to replenish the losses?

All three points above have never been demonstrated in experiment or in simulation. There are only approximate theories based on order of magnitude arguments. We report on our iPic3D simulation effort to address those questions and address the pratical relevance to space, astrophysics and laboratory plasmas.

[1] Park, J., Krall, N. A., Sieck, P. E., Offermann, D. T., Skillicorn, M., Sanchez, A., Davis, K., Alderson, E., Lapenta, G. (2015). High-Energy Electron Confinement in a Magnetic Cusp Configuration. Physical Review X, 5(2), 021024.

Primary author

Prof. Giovanni LAPENTA (KULeuven)



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