[ Contact Us ] [ Site Index ] [ Search ]

New Approaches for Critical Physics Problems in Fusion

The Center for Multiscale Plasma dynamics is a joint UCLA/Maryland fusion science center focused on the interaction of microscale and macroscale dynamics in key plasma physics problems. Foremost among these problems are the sawtooth crash, the growth of neoclassical magnetic islands, and the formation and collapse of transport barriers -- all of central importance to the fusion program. Each involves large scale flows and magnetic fields tightly coupled to the small scale, kinetic dynamics of turbulence, particle acceleration, and energy cascade. The interaction between these vastly disparate scales controls the evolution of the system. The enormous range of temporal and spatial scales associated with these problems renders direct simulation intractable, even in computations that use the largest existing parallel computers.

The Center for Multiscale Plasma Dynamics brings together, for the first time, a critical mass of scientists with expertise in applied mathematics, theoretical and computational plasma physics, and basic and performance-dominated plasma experiments, to address head-on the most important multiscale issues facing ITER, as well as the fusion program beyond ITER. Sawteeth, neo-classical island growth and transport barrier formation will be focus areas of the Center research program. At all stages, theoretical and computational results will be compared with the most advanced confinement experiments, JET, CMOD, DIII-D and NSTX. Developing ideas will be benchmarked with observations on focused experiments on LAPD and VTF. While the Center's scientific focus is on fusion phenomena, these phenomena are inextricably linked to three basic physics processes of fundamental importance: magnetic reconnection, plasma turbulence with flow generation, and explosive instability in plasmas. Improved understanding of these processes is essential for astrophysics, space and atmospheric physics. The Center's program will develop insight, theory and computational tools of direct relevance to these broad issues. Thus, the research team includes members of the space and astrophysical communities.

Powerful new multiscale algorithms are emerging from the applied mathematics and engineering communities. A central mission of the center is to adapt, modify and extend these ideas to model multiscale plasma dynamics. This mission puts the center in one of the most active and rapidly advancing areas of computational research.

Activities funded by the Center include a post-doctoral fellowship program, a graduate student fellowship program, contributions to targeted experimental programs, advanced courses (at the senior graduate student or post-doctoral level, convened weekly in video conference), and an annual Winter School.

University of Maryland     UCLA    

UM Home | Directories | Search | Admissions | Calendar
Maintained by CSCAMM
Direct questions and comments to