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Physics Department Colloquia

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Is This Even a Plasma? Physics of Strongly Coupled Plasmas
Date: Friday, February 7th
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Scott Baalrud, University of Iowa
Abstract: Plasma is often described as an ionized gas. However, a rapidly growing field of research is concerned with strongly coupled states of plasma that are more akin to ionized liquids, solids, or supercritical fluids. Strongly coupled plasmas are found in nature, including the interior of giant planets, the core of stars, and even in lightning bolts. The recent surge of interest has been driven by the advent of high-intensity lasers capable of ionizing, heating and compressing materials to tens of thousands of degrees at near solid density or several times compressed. These dense plasmas are not well described by either the methods of condensed matter theory (which deals with lower temperatures) or plasma theory (which deals with lower densities). Unique properties of this warm dense state of matter arise due to the combined influence of strong correlations amongst ions and Fermi degeneracy of electrons. This talk will present a new approach to kinetic theory that has made it practical to describe the dynamical transport properties of dense strongly coupled plasmas. It will also show how we have used simulations enabled by state-of-the-art high-performance computing to validate this theory.
Host: John Sarff
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