The Laboratory of Plasma Studies at Cornell University carries out a wide range of fundamental and applied research in pulsed-power-driven plasma physics including research related to inertial confinement fusion and astrophysics investigations. This broad range is fundamental to understanding different characteristics of plasmas, from microscopic to macroscopic scales. The integration between experiment, computation and theory is an important trait of this lab.
The principal research objective of the Laboratory of Plasma Studies is to make use of our pulsed power facilities, computer simulation tools and diagnostic expertise to develop an understanding of high energy density (HED) plasmas from a fundamental perspective. Most of our sponsored research contributes to the Stockpile Stewardship Program of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); other projects investigate fundamental aspects of HED plasmas, laboratory plasma astrophysics and pulsed-power-driven inertial confinement fusion. Other major objectives are:
- to train graduate students and undergraduates in the field of HED plasma physics;
- to enhance US capabilities in this field of physics;
- to help grow the U. S. scientific community in this area through interaction with university researchers around the world;
- to provide high quality data to the HED community to help validate NNSA’s large scale computer codes;
- to promote scientific interactions between members of our laboratory and scientists at the DOE/NNSA national laboratories on HED physics.
We accomplish these objectives by coordinating the activities of the seven partner research groups in the NNSA-sponsored Multi-University Center for the Study of Pulsed-Power-Driven High-Energy-Density Plasmas. We also work collaboratively with members of partner research groups on individual projects and by participating in workshops and conferences that bring together HED researchers from many institutions. Our general philosophy is to do very careful, in depth and accurate work, including the appropriate null experiments to be sure that our results are on the strongest of foundations, and then we compare with the results of computer simulations both to help understand the experimental results and to help validate the computer code. Our laboratory collaborates with many institutions nationally (Pulsed Power Sciences Directorate at Sandia National Lab, as well as groups at other U.S. universities) and internationally (Plasma Physics group at Imperial College in the UK).