The recent generation of laboratory high-energy-density physics facilities, including both laser facilities and pulsed power systems, has open significant physics opportunities for both fusion and for experimentally modeling astrophysical plasmas. The goal of this INCITE project is to understand and model the dynamics of magnetic fields in these high-energy-density plasmas, including their generation, subsequent dynamics, and destruction. These involve processes that play a role in both fusion and astrophysics, including magnetic field generation by processes such as the Biermann battery (thermoelectric) effect and Weibel instability, destruction of fields by magnetic reconnection, and the dynamics of the fields as dictated by the generalized Ohm’s law.
This INCITE project proposes to continue a set of projects funded at OLCF through the ALCC program (July 2015–June 2016) and INCITE (2016). We will conduct both full-kinetic particle-in-cell simulations (with our PSC code) and reduced magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and extended MHD, including a detailed comparison of the two. Our work with HMHD will advance studies of magnetic reconnection in the large-system size, plasmoid-dominated regime. Our kinetic simulations will study 3-D processes and particle-energization in laser-driven reconnection experiments, including inertial-fusion-relevant effects such as magnetic field generation by the Biermann battery and heat-flux driven plasma advection via the Nernst effect.
Our group has recently made the first experimental identification of the ion-driven Weibel instability, and the proposed leadership-scale 3-D simulations will be used for 3-D simulations to benchmark this important astrophysical instability.
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