About the Plasma Physics Division

NRL Rail GunThe Plasma Physics Division conducts a broad theoretical and experimental program of basic and applied research in plasma physics, laboratory discharge, and space plasmas, intense electron and ion beams and photon sources, atomic physics, pulsed power sources, laser physics, advanced spectral diagnostics, and nonlinear systems. The effort of the Division is concentrated on a few closely coordinated theoretical and experimental programs. Considerable emphasis is placed on large-scale numerical simulations related to plasma dynamics; ionospheric, magnetospheric, and atmospheric dynamics; nuclear weapons effects; inertial confinement fusion; atomic physics; plasma processing; nonlinear dynamics and chaos; free electron lasers and other advanced radiation sources; advanced accelerator concepts; and atmospheric laser propagation. Areas of experimental interest include laser-plasma, laser-electron beam, and laser-matter interactions, high-energy laser weapons, laser shock hydrodynamics, thermonuclear fusion, electromagnetic wave generation, the generation of intense electron and ion beams, large-area plasma processing sources, electromagnetic launchers, high-frequency microwave processing of ceramic and metallic materials, advanced accelerator development, inductive energy storage, laboratory simulation of space plasma phenomena, high altitude chemical releases, and in situ and remote sensing space plasma measurements.

Research Activity Areas

Radiation Hydrodynamics - 6720
  • Radiation hydrodynamics of Z-pinches and laser-produced plasmas
  • X-ray source development
  • Cluster dynamics in intense laser fields
  • X-ray channeling and propagation
  • Plasma kinetics for directed energy and fusion
  • Plasma discharge physics
  • Dense plasma atomic physics, equation of state
  • Numerical simulation of high-density plasma
  • Laser driven ion/neutron sources
Pulsed Power Physics - 6770
  • Production, focusing, and propagation of intense electron and ion beams
  • High-power, pulsed radiography
  • Plasma radiator and bremsstrahlung diode sources
  • Capacitive and inductive energy storage
  • Nuclear weapons effects simulation
  • Electromagnetic launchers
  • Detection of Special Nuclear Materials
  • Advanced energetics via stimulated nuclear decay
Laser Plasma - 6730
  • Nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship
  • Laser fusion, inertial confinement
  • Megabar high-pressure physics
  • Rep-rate KrF laser development
  • Strongly coupled plasmas
  • Laser fusion technology
  • Laser fusion energy
  • Detection of chemical/biological/nuclear materials
Beam Physics - 6790
  • Advanced accelerators and radiation sources
  • Microwave, plasma, and laser processing of materials
  • Microwave sources: Magnicons and gyrotrons
  • Nonlinear dynamics of coupled lasers
  • Ultrahigh-intensity laser-matter interactions
  • Free electron lasers and laser synchrotrons
  • Theory and simulation of space and solar plasmas
  • Global ionospheric and space weather modeling
  • Laser propagation in the atmosphere
  • Underwater laser interactions
Charged Particle Physics - 6750
  • Applications of modulated electron beams
  • Rocket, satellite, and shuttle-borne natural and active experiments
  • Laboratory simulation of space plasma processes
  • Large-area plasma processing sources
  • Atmospheric and ionospheric GPS sensing
  • Ionospheric effects on communications
  • Electromagnetic launchers
  • Radiation belt remediation