High Energy Density Plasma Physics, Electromagnetics

Electromagnetics involves a variety of applications of electromagnetic wave propagation and other time-varying phenomena in the presence of electric and magnetic fields.

Plasma science involves the interaction of large numbers of charged particles with electric and magnetic fields in a variety of configurations ranging from the surface of the sun to the interior of fluorescent electric light bulbs.

At Cornell, we specialize in High Energy Density Laboratory Plasma (HEDLP) research, in which the product of the density of the ionized matter (plasma) and its temperature (more than a million degrees C) that it exceeds the ability to of any material to confine it even for a tiny fraction of a second. An example of a high energy density plasma is the center of the sun, where the plasma is 15 million degrees kelvin, the density is 1000 times the density of normal matter on earth, and gravity is the confinement method. In our laboratories, we use pulsed power generators to produce very large currents – 300,000-1,000,000 amperes – to produce hot plasmas and then we use the high magnetic fields produced by the currents to confine the plasmas far away from material walls. This enables us to study the properties of 1-25 million degree high density plasmas for times up to 0.1 microsecond using many different measurement techniques. Applications of our experimental, theoretical and computer simulation results include possible approaches to fusion reactors and understanding high energy astronomical observations.

Research Areas

Associated ECE Faculty