Position: CFSA PhD Student (part time)
Supervisor: Dirk O. Gericke
Topic: Dynamic structure in non-equilibrium plasmas
Project Outline: The scattering of coherent radiation (Thomson scattering) is one of the indispensible diagnostic tools of contemporary plasma physics. A core assumption of the current theoretical models for describing scattering in such states is that the plasma is close to equilibrium, whereby the distribution functions of the constituent particles are described by the appropriate equilibrium statistics to a first approximation. The result of this thesis will be an investigation into the properties and relationships which can be derived if the plasma is not in equilibrium. Non-equilibrium conditions introduce potentially significant uncertainties in the application of standard analysis codes, which are contrained by the assumption of thermal equilibrium, to experimental data. The challenge of this thesis will therefore be to produce a theory that can correctly model the expected Thomson scattered signal from strongly driven plasmas and to be used in close conjunction with experiments (e.g. at the Orion and Titan laser facilities) and numerical simulations (e.g electron kinetic models such as Vlasov-Fokker-Planck codes).