Modeling Tools for Plasmas in the Strongly-Coupled State

Period of Performance: 03/01/2012 - 11/30/2012


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Tech-X Corporation
5621 Arapahoe Ave Suite A
Boulder, CO 80303
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Michigan State University
Office of Sponsored Programs
East Lansing, MI 48824
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: Strongly coupled plasmas are important to the Air Force for emerging applications including plasma opening switches, quantum information systems, ionospheric plasmas related to atmospheric explosions, and micro-plasma devices. Traditionally, researchers have used modeling and simulation with great success to help understand plasma behavior. However, present modeling tools usually assume that plasmas are in the weakly-coupled state. These assumptions include assuming that the number of particles in a Debye sphere is large, meaning that long-range effects are shielded out and are negligible. For strongly coupled plasmas, however, long-range forces can play a major role. Consequently, the Air Force needs new tools for simulating strongly coupled plasmas. One important part of developing any new computational tool is validating that tool against known experimental results. For strongly coupled plasmas, one of the most well-diagnosed examples is ultra-cold plasmas. Therefore, ultra-cold plasmas offer an excellent opportunity for benchmarking new numerical approaches. We plan to develop state-of-the-art tools for modeling strongly-coupled plasmas, with special application to ultra-cold plasmas. BENEFIT: Modeling of strongly-coupled plasmas will benefit the broad Department of Defense interest in atmospheric detonations and the effects on space-based assets, in quantum computing, and in micro-plasma devices for improving operations in extreme temperature and radiation environments.