Plasma Physics

Our group's research in plasma physics is currently focused in three areas;

  • Solar corona heating: The solar corona is hot (10^6 Kelvin) and the solar "surface" or photosphere is not (10^3 Kelvin). We investigate physical mechanisms for transferring and dissipating magneto-mechanical energy in the photosphere into the solar corona and solar wind. Some example mechanisms are MHD wave mode conversion, phase mixing and shock heating.
  • Plasma discharge (Dielectric Barrier Discharge) devices at atmospheric pressures. Beyond our interest in the fundamental issues of plasma discharges, we also investigate their potential as aerodynamic actuators.
  • Applications of magnetic fields to hypersonic flight issues. Most of our research is based on numerical simulations using our 216 processor Beowulf cluster which was provided by an AFOSR DURIP grant. Our funding is typically through AFOSR.

Dr. Huerta