Fusion and Astrophysical Plasma Physics Group

The Fusion and Astrophysical Plasma Physics Group within the Physics Department and the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of California, San Diego is led by Professor Patrick H. Diamond and consists of two research scientists-- Mikhail Malkov, Fred Hinton, and four graduate student researchers-- and is managed by an administrative assistant.

Most Recent Publication:

Zonal Flow Formation in the Presence of Ambient Mean Shear - Pei-Chun Hsu and P.H. Diamond (2015)


The effect of mean shear flows on zonal flow formation is considered in the contexts of plasma drift wave turbulence and quasi-geostrophic turbulence models. The generation of zonal flows by modulational instability in the presence of large-scale mean shear flows is studied using the method of characteristics as applied to the wave kinetic equation. It is shown that mean shear flows reduce the modulational instability growth rate by shortening the coherency time of the wave spectrm with the zonal shear. The scalings of zonal flow growth rate and turbulent vorticity flux with mean shear are determined in the strong shear limit.



The memory of Professor Marshall N. Rosenbluth- an American plasma physicist and member of the National Academy of Sciences- who passed away on September 23, 2003.


We are working primarily on the theory of fusion plasma including:

  • Nonlinear dynamics of plasmas and fluids
  • Anomalous transport
  • Self-organized criticality in confined plasma
  • L-H transition, transport barrier physics
  • Dynamo theory
  • Nonlinear waves in space plasma



Our work is primarily funded by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Grant No. DE-FG02-04ER54738.