The ePLAS Code for Ignition Studies

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Research Applications Corporation
148 Piedra Loop
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Principal Investigator


High energy density laboratory plasmas (HEDLP) present unique opportunities for the extraction of clean energy from Fusion. Intense lasers and particle beams can create and interact with such plasmas, potentially yielding sufficient energy to satisfy all our national needs. However, few models are available to help aid the scientific community in the study and optimization of such interactions. This project will further enhance and disseminate the computer code, ePLAS, for the early understanding and control of Ignition in HEDLP for Fusion energy. ePLAS is a unique simulation code that tracks the transport of laser light to a target, the absorption of that light resulting in the generation and transport of hot electrons, and the heating and flow dynamics of the background plasma. It uses an implicit electromagnetic field-solving method to greatly reduce computing demands, so that useful target interaction studies can often be completed in 15 minutes on a portable 2.1 GHz PC. ePLAS permits the rapid scoping of calculations for the optimization of laser target interactions aimed at fusion. Recent efforts have initiated the use of analytic equations of state (EOS), K-alpha image rendering graphics, allocatable memory for source-free usage, and adaption to the latest Mac and Linux Operating Systems. The speed and utility of ePLAS are unequaled in the HEDLP simulation community. This project will work to enhance, test, document, and distribute an improved ePLAS for economical HEDLP community use: 1) for hot electron interactions - RAC will evaluate the effects of its new EOSs on target heating, 2) for fast ion driven studies - it will compare fluid and particle models for the ions and initiate the simultaneous use of both ion models in the code, 3) for shock ignition - it will study long time scale, 500 ps hot electron deposition, and 4) for improved utility - it will enable 64-bit W7 OS computing. RACs efforts will also include: a) the creation of an improved online manual, b) the initiation of a new GUI interface for input, c) additions to the codes present IDL Virtual Machine applications for visualization, d) the early exploration of shared memory multi-core parallelization, and e) preparation of a publication detailing current ePLAS features. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Implicit/hybrid plasma simulation codes are not generally available in industry or academia. ePLAS has been granted EAR99 export control status, permitting export without a license to most foreign countries. Beta-test versions of ePLAS have been granted to several Universities and commercial users. RAC will explore low cost code distribution for students and researchers via the company site: