Plasma physics and gas dynamics enable ephemeral but exceptionally damage-resistant optics for controlling high-power light, with applications to next-generation lasers, advanced particle accelerators, and inertial confinement fusion.
Short pulses of intense light can quantify velocity, temperature, and species in a wide range of extreme environments from engines to hypersonic flows; we develop new methods for high-precision measurement in challenging settings.
Lasers that produce relativistic intensities accelerate electrons to near light speed within an optical cycle. The extreme nonlinearities of this regime are a rich source of new physics and a route to advanced x-ray and light sources.
The mass symmetry of matter-antimatter plasma changes fundamental plasma dynamics. Study of “pair” plasmas provides insight into basic plasma physics and offers a laboratory tool for understanding extreme astrophysical events.
High-Power Beam Propagation
The propagation of laser beams is governed by a complex interplay between nonlinear optics, fluid mechanics, and plasma physics.
Interactions between high-intensity light and plasma produce a variety of instabilities, including stimulated scattering and filamentation; we ty to quantify these effects with large-scale simulations and high-power laser experiments.
Applications of optics are found universally in engineering and science, from simply taking photographs to using lasers to manipulate individual cells or drive matter to high-energy-density states.
Plasma Physics and Engineering
Plasma, the most common state of matter in the universe, is the key to fusion, plasma propulsion, and space physics. We tackle both basic and applied problems to advance plasma science and applications.
Advanced Light Sources
The development of next-generation lasers and radiation sources requires management of optical energy and heat fluxes, adaptive control schemes, and harnessing recent advances in materials science and applied physics.