ALEXIS: Physics

In space and astrophysical environments, plasma flows both parallel and perpendicular to magnetic fields are believed to be an important mechanism that drives a wide range of plasma instabilities.

By contrast, in fusion plasmas, the presence of flows - particularly at the plasma edge - is known to be an important feature in the stability of these plasmas and the ability to achieve the high performance conditions needed for fusion.

The ALEXIS project - in collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory's Space Experiments Section and the Compact Toroidal Hybrid (CTH) experiment in the Auburn Fusion group - is investigating the effect of sheared flows in plasmas. The PSL research focuses on the relationship between the scale size of the flow layer (LE) and the size of the ion orbit in the magnetic field (i.e., the ion gyroradius).

Model for establishing a transverse flow (flow perpendicular to the magnetic field):

alexis theory.005.005

PSL research on plasma flows has investigated a variety of instabilities - on ALEXIS and through its collaborations. (Look for these authors in the Publications and Student Theses)

  • Inhomogeneous Energy Density Driven Instability (ALEXIS) - Thomas (pub), Eadon (thesis)
  • Current driven electrostatic ion cyclotron waves (ALEXIS) - Eadon (thesis)
  • Drift waves (ALEXIS) - DuBois (pub)
  • Electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves (NRL) - Tejero (pub, thesis)
  • Density gradient modified Kelvin-Helmholtz (CTH) - Cianciosa (thesis)

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