Fluid Theory and Simulation for Laser-Plasma Interactions

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Mathematics and Physics

Abstract

Our research embraces the areas of nonlinear physics and soliton theory, as applied in plasma physics and laser-plasma interactions. We shall make extensive use of the paradigm of a soliton, that is a structure (e.g., bell-shaped) which is localised in space and possesses a stationary profile which remains unchanged in time. Typical examples of soliton-relevant contexts include tsunamis and rogue/freak waves in the ocean, optical pulses in fiber optics, signal transmission across membranes, and others. Solitons owe their remarkable properties to a delicate balance between dispersion and nonlinearity, also undergoing generic physical mechanisms, such as perturbations, dissipation, noise (due to turbulence in the background), to mention but a few. In an idealised picture, solitons survive through mutual collisions, which makes them significant entities to support information and signal transcmission in various media (nonlinear optics, condensed matter physics). In plasma physics, solitons occur in the modelling of propagating localised electromagnetic/electrostatic modes, which occur in abundance in experimental or Space observations. Notwithstanding the different scales of parameters involved, localised structures are ubiquitous in plasmas at all levels, including laboratory plasmas (e.g. experiments on low-temperature discharge plasmas and on laser-matter interactions at the host Centre, CPP/QUB), Space plasmas (e.g. in the magnetosphere, the physics of the bow shock, or the Earth's aurora), astrophysics (pulsar radio emission is associated to solitons) and dusty plasmas in the interstellar space. We therefore expect our findings to be of relevance in various areas of plasma physics and certainly of interest to researchers in the UK and overseas. We aim at studying the dynamics of electromagnetic solitons in laser plasmas. Laser-plasma interaction (LPI) is perhaps the fastest evolving area in modern plasma science. Apart from its challenging relevance in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) schemes, the area of LPI bears a vast field of applications in industry and technology (e.g. laser design for microelectronics application, perspective for improved laser based appliances). A great amount of fundamental (theoretical) and experimental research is now carried out in the UK and worldwide, boosted by tremendous possibilities of new generation lasers producing ultrashort pulses at ultrahigh intensities. The host Centre (CPP/QUB) boasts some of the leading experimental groups in the UK in LPI.The aim and scope of the proposed research consist of a comprehensive investigation of the dynamics of intense electromagnetic pulses in plasmas, employing analytical and numerical techniques from nonlinear fluid plasma theory. Our aim is to investigate previously unexplored aspects of EM solitary wave propagation, in particular focusing on two-dimensional (2D) geometry effects on EM soliton propagation. A number of relevant areas will be investigated. The derivation of two-dimensional (2D) soliton evolution equations will be undertaken from the fluid-Maxwell model. The soliton equilibrium equations will be solved to obtain the field profiles associated with the soliton. A two dimensional fluid code will then be developed. The numerical soliton solution will be used as initial condition for the time evolution studies. The propagation of 2D solitons in uniform as well as non-uniform plasma will be investigated using a fluid code, by considering different types of density inhomogeneity. If the solitons are found stable in homogeneous plasma, mutual collisions among two solitons will be studied in a realistic parameter regime. This should provide the possibility for a direct comparison of these solitons with the known topological solitons. Furthermore, we envisage to focus in particular on an extensive multiscale analysis of laser pulse dynamics to extend and improve earlier theorie

Planned Impact

The project bears significant potential for impact, both at national (UK) and international level. Academic, societal and economic impact and targeted beneficiaries are outlined below. Relevance to energy production schemes - the fusion vision. Laser-plasma interaction is of relevance to Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), a well-known scenario for controlled thermonuclear fusion, which should one day enable safe and sustainable energy production for the generations to come. It is known that ultra-high-energy laser-produced EM pulses may effectively carry the energy required for fusion to occur all the way to the core (ignition target). The need for elucidation of the pulse propagation mechanism(s) is thus more than apparent, so our research should affect the theoretical foundation of ICF significantly. We anticipate our research to draw attention among other researchers,and eventually to contribute to a realistic path towards fusion. The output of our research will be presented in specialised scientific meetings in the field, and may also be taught as lecture material (details below). A direct academic impact is expected, both in the UK and internationally, to be marked not only at a specialised level, but also at a wider audience scale (societal impact). Relevance to experimental research. We draw inspiration from experiments on the interaction of ultra-short ultra-intense electromagnetic pulses with plasmas, in the UK and abroad. Localised structure formation is abundantly observed in those experiments, along with numerous instabilities which affect the stability profile of waves and the intrinsic properties of the plasma. We expect a direct and immediate impact of our research findings in those areas. Impact at this level will be fostered by direct interactions with interested teams, in the host Centre (Belfast) and elsewhere. Methods for communications and engagement. We plan to offer the widest dissemination possible to our research, via a) announcements at conferences, b) vivid participation to thematic academic forae and c) publication in high-impact international journals ensuring wide visibility. Links to other disciplines will be investigated. Societal and academic impact via training, human potential, curriculum development Our research output may form part of lecture material, to train young people. Training curriculae (existing and under construction) and benefit mechanisms include: a) incorporating research output in taught material in web-based MSc programmes in the UK (MSc in Plasma Physics) and internationally (EU Erasmus IP on HiPER related physics; EU Summer School on Plasma Physics); b) involving project-related staff into extensive training and supervision activities by postgraduate students; c) exchange of know-how with interested beneficiaries in both academic and private sectors. A number of students will carry out their master's research projects (leading to dissertations and original article publications) with us, bringing new momentum to the project and also offering themselves new perspectives, by acquiring new knowledge and expertise. Novel analytical and computational techniques will be developed in the context of the project research. These will contribute to a transfer of knowledge to young students and researchers. As a clear pathway to impact, this acquired know-how can be used e.g. in a career in the energy sector (societal impact, UK and EU-wide). Industrial, economic and societal impact via applied research Technological applications make increasing use of laser devices. Plasmas have been proposed as an effective medium to be used as a waveguide ( plasma lens ). The elucidation of the mechanism of interaction between plasma and a laser beam is of outmost importance in the economy of the years to come. We will invest time and effort in assessing the potential of our findings, eventually probing interest among companies in the technological sector

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Nature is intrinsically non-linear! In various physical contexts, nonlinearity may combine with the intrinsic dispersive property of a physical medium, leading to the formation of robust localised structures, in the form of solitary waves (pulses), or shocks. Manifestations of this mechanism may range from Tsunami waves and freak waves formation in the open sea, signal transmission in optical fibres and charge transport across human membranes, to mention but a few.



In the framework of charged matter (plasmas), this mechanism is associated with the formation of localised electrostatic or electromagnetic structures, which may bear the form of potential pulses, combined with localised electric/magnetic (EM) field disturbances propagating at a stationary profile and speed. Given their remarkable stability properties, such localised structures are good candidates for the modelling of localised lumps of electromagnetic energy launched and propagating stably in the plasma.



Within this project, we have focused on laser-plasma interactions, that is, during the propagation of EM beams in (and their dynamical interaction with) the plasma. We have employed a fluid plasma description, in combination with Maxwell's laws, as basis for an analytical description of plasma dynamics, and to model shocks and soliton pulses via computational simulations. A variety of plasma configurations and wave propagation effects have been considered, including (but not limited to) the interaction between overlapping EM pulses (solitons), and the dynamics of superluminal laser pulses in electron-positron plasmas. We have also considered multidimensional aspects of the dynamics of electrostatic shocks and pulses in electron-ion and electron-positron-ion plasmas. Finally, the effect of nonthermal (non-Maxwellian) particle distribution was also considered through this research. Both one-dimensional (for simplicity) and two-dimensional geometries have been considered.
Exploitation Route This research contributes to modelling of EM beam interaction with plasmas, applied for instance in long distance wave propagation in the magnetosphere, for telecommunication purposes. Furthermore, the elucidation of energy and mass localisation mechanisms is applicable to a wide range of problems where complex (nonlinear) dynamics is involved, e.g. in finance and in the propagation of social spatial patterns. Fundamentally speaking, our research is also relevant with energy production (fusion) schemes, where harnessing the behaviour of energy lumps is of outmost importance in managing energy deposition on a solid target. Possible applications of this research range include energy transport within the inertial confinement fusion (ICF) scheme for energy production, shock formation in space plasmas, and the dynamics of collisionless shocks and EM pulses in laser-matter interaction experiments.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy

URL http://www.kourakis.eu
 
Description Our research findings have resulted in a number of publications and conference proceedings (listed elsewhere in this database). Beyond the standard research impact (visibility in the research and academic community), these results have: - contributed to the understanding of the dynamics of energy and charge transport mechanism in energy production (via laser-assisted fusion) mechanisms; - contributed to the development of a fluid simulation code for collisionless shocks and solitary waves, which formed the basis of the work of an intern (Mr Guisset, ref. section) and will also form the basis of future publications, currently in preparation; - led to various events and factors playing a role in the career development of the main two researchers involved in the project (Dr Kourakis, Dr Saxena), including: - Dr Saxena has successfully landed a researcher job offer at DESY research centre in Hamburg, Germany, where he works at the current date; - Dr Kourakis has been appointed at Editorial positions and Reviewer panel membership assignments, as explained in the section of this database. Finally, our findings have formed the basis of a number of Master's projects, within the MSc in Plasma Physics Curriculum at Queen's University, and have thus contributed to training a new generation of researchers, with evident impact to the local economy.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Energy
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Editorial Board Member (EBM): Open Journal of Plasma Physics, 2009-
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guidance committee
URL http://benthamopen.com/toppj/EBM.htm
 
Description Editorial Board Membership (EBM): Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing; EBM for Fluids and Plasma Physics), 2014-
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guidance committee
URL http://www.nature.com/srep/eap-ebm/index.html
 
Description National Peer-Review Committee membership: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Discovery Grants Program, Physics Evaluation Group; three-year term, July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017.
Geographic Reach North America 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guidance committee
URL http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/NSERC-CRSNG/Committees-Comites/Physics-Physique_eng.asp
 
Description FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES Complex ideal and non-ideal quantum plasmas
Amount € 84,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 612506 QUANTUM PLASMAS FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2014 
End 12/2017
 
Title Plasma fluid simulation code development 
Description Novel Plasma fluid simulation code developped for electrostatic solitary waves and collisionless shocks in plasmas. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Novel Plasma fluid simulation code now available for electrostatic solitary waves and collisionless shocks in plasmas. This has been used as basis for further research work, as PhD topic for students, and as a project material for MSc students. 
 
Description Collaboration with Ghent University, Belgium 
Organisation University of Ghent
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Professor Frank Verheest from Ghent University, Belgium, on solitary waves in plasmas. Dr Kourakis has contributed analytical expertise on solitary waves.
Collaborator Contribution Professor Frank Verheest has contributed analytical expertise on solitary waves and practical editing work (article writing).
Impact Number of joint research article in refereed journals.
Start Year 2006
 
Description Collaboration with Max-Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany, and with Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems
Country Germany 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Dr Kourakis has contributed theoretical expertise (nonlinear systems, PDEs, soliton theory) and analytical work (perturbation theory). Dr Saxena has contributed analytical and computational expertise and work (code development).
Collaborator Contribution Dr Siminos has contributed theoretical expertise, analytical work and computational expertise and work (code development). Dr Sanchez-Arriaga has contributed analytical (dynamical systems theory) and computational expertise.
Impact Relativistic breather-like solitary waves with linear polarization in cold plasmas, G. Sanchez-Arriaga, E. Siminos, V. Saxena and I. Kourakis, Phys. Rev. E 91, 033102 (2015); DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.91.033102; accessed on ArXiV as: arXiv:1410.1741 (http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.1741). Modelling relativistic solitary wave interactions in overdense plasmas: a perturbed nonlinear Schrodinger equation framework, E. Siminos, G. Sanchez-Arriaga, V. Saxena and I. Kourakis, Phys. Rev. E, 90 (6) 063104 (2014); DOI: 10.1103/Phys-RevE.90.063104; also accessed on ArXiV as: arXiv:1410.0662 (http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.0662). Interaction of spatially overlapping standing electromagnetic solitons in plasmas, V. Saxena, I. Kourakis, G. Sanchez-Arriaga, E. Siminos, Phys. Lett. A, 377, 473 (2013).
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaboration with Max-Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany, and with Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain 
Organisation Technical University of Madrid
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr Kourakis has contributed theoretical expertise (nonlinear systems, PDEs, soliton theory) and analytical work (perturbation theory). Dr Saxena has contributed analytical and computational expertise and work (code development).
Collaborator Contribution Dr Siminos has contributed theoretical expertise, analytical work and computational expertise and work (code development). Dr Sanchez-Arriaga has contributed analytical (dynamical systems theory) and computational expertise.
Impact Relativistic breather-like solitary waves with linear polarization in cold plasmas, G. Sanchez-Arriaga, E. Siminos, V. Saxena and I. Kourakis, Phys. Rev. E 91, 033102 (2015); DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.91.033102; accessed on ArXiV as: arXiv:1410.1741 (http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.1741). Modelling relativistic solitary wave interactions in overdense plasmas: a perturbed nonlinear Schrodinger equation framework, E. Siminos, G. Sanchez-Arriaga, V. Saxena and I. Kourakis, Phys. Rev. E, 90 (6) 063104 (2014); DOI: 10.1103/Phys-RevE.90.063104; also accessed on ArXiV as: arXiv:1410.0662 (http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.0662). Interaction of spatially overlapping standing electromagnetic solitons in plasmas, V. Saxena, I. Kourakis, G. Sanchez-Arriaga, E. Siminos, Phys. Lett. A, 377, 473 (2013).
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaboration with National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece) 
Organisation University of Athens
Country Greece 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Prof DJ Frantzeskakis and G Veldes from National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece). Joint research work on optical soliton in laser-plasma interactions. Dr Kourakis and Mr McKerr (PhD student, Queen's University) have contributed the original concept in most papers, theoretical expertise (nonlinear PDEs) and also theoretical work (multiscale perturbation theory).
Collaborator Contribution Prof DJ Frantzeskakis has contributed analytical expertise and ideas. Mr G Veldes has contributed analytical and numerical work.
Impact Publications: Electromagnetic Rogue Waves in Beam-Plasma Interactions, G.P. Veldes, J. Borhanian, M. McKerr, V. Saxena, D.J. Frantzeskakis and I. Kourakis, Journal of Optics 15 (Special issue on Optical RogueWaves), 064003/1-10 (2013); doi:10.1088/2040-8978/15/6/064003. Joint funding proposals: two grant proposals submitted to EU-HORIZON 2020 (Intra-European Fellowship) in 2014 and in 2015 (not funded). Also, a wide audience article in IoP LabTalk: IoP (UK) LabTalk webpage "Monster waves in a laser beam: myth or reality?": http://iopscience.iop.org/2040-8986/labtalk-article/53714 (2013).
Start Year 2011
 
Description Collaboration with University Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa 
Organisation University of KwaZulu-Natal
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Professor Manfred A. Hellberg from University Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, on nonlinear dynamics of nonthermal plasmas.
Collaborator Contribution Professor Manfred A. Hellberg has contributed his expertise on the nonlinear dynamics of nonthermal plasmas, and also analytical research work and practical work (preparation of manuscripts).
Impact Number of articles in refereed journals. Also, a wide audience article in IoP LabTalk: IoP (UK) LabTalk webpage "Life off the Maxwellian border: nonthermal effects on plasma waves": iopscience.iop.org/0741-3335/labtalk-article/54105 (2013).
Start Year 2011
 
Description Monster waves in a laser beam: myth or reality? (IOPscience LabTalk article) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact IOPscience LabTalk open public article

"Monster waves in a laser beam: myth or reality?"

published in June 2013: http://iopscience.iop.org/2040-8986/labtalk-article/53714 .

LabTalk open public article.



Monster waves in a laser beam: myth or reality?



How can ultra-strong electromagnetic excitations be formed during the interaction of a laser beam with a plasma?

More details from the authors on this work are published in a special issue of Journal of Optics dedicated to optical rogue waves. Read more about the work of the Belfast group.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://iopscience.iop.org/2040-8986/labtalk-article/53714
 
Description Riding the Soliton `Wave' - Research Media Innovation article (Special Issue on Complexity Science) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Increased awareness of the area of my research.

Increased visibility about research on laser-plasma interactions and soliton dynamics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.research-europe.com/magazine/ICT/EX13