High Energy Plasmas for Nuclear Fusion Research and in Astrophysics

High Energy Plasmas for Nuclear Fusion Research and in Astrophysics
Prof. Bruno Coppi
Physics Department
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,USA
2013-06-27 16:00
The effects of collective modes,such as the transport of angular momentum(that is of crucial importance in the ubiquitous process of accretion in astrophysics)have been observed to dominate the behavior of high energy plasmas. By understanding these effects it has been possible to envision and design experiments capable of approaching ignition in nuclear fusion reacting plasmas. Existing high magnetic field technologies and relevant materials make this goal a realistic objective of an approved international collaboration. The ignitable reactions D-T,D-He3 and D-D lead to reactors with strongly different characteristics both in view of the application of the resulting physics observations to astrophysics and envisioned uses. The presence of "magnetic 
reconnection" processes that,like in the case of Solar Flares, can destroy the relevant confining magnetic field configuration and produce damaging high energy particles remains a serious
concern and methods to control them have been devised. These experiments provide a unique opportunity to discover and investigate self-organization and other processes, in plasmas 
where different high energy particle populations are present, that are directly relevant to high energy astrophysics. The so-called Galaxy Clusters are the largest plasma objects observed in the Universe having, in fact, temperatures in the same range as those to be produced by experiments on fusing plasmas,a feature that plasmas associated with Shining Black Holes can share.