Plasma physics

The presence of charged particles provides plasmas with fundamentally different behavior compared to the other three states of matter (solid, liquid and gas). Not only is plasma the most common state present in the universe, but plasmas are also found in numerous industrial applications, including fluorescent lamps, electric arcs and torches, and television displays. The numerical simulation of plasmas, which continues to be explored through the development and use of both fluid and kinetic models, provides a range of challenges for computational scientists.

For many years, EPFL has been one of the world leaders in Computational Plasma Physics applied to nuclear fusion research. Activities have encompassed many different aspects of fusion research, such as the equilibrium and stability of magnetized plasma configurations, plasma heating, turbulence and transport, and surface treatment. In another application area, magnetohydrodynamic simulations have been used to examine the influence of electrostatic potential on the aluminum casing process. More recently, the numerical study of plasma effects in the high-temperature flow region around hypersonic re-entry vehicles, and their use for active flow control, has also become an active multidisciplinary research area at EPFL.

Specific laboratories involved in Computational Plasma Physics activities include: