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:

On Calculating the Potential Vorticity Flux - Pei-Chun Hsu and P.H. Diamond

We discuss and compare different approaches to calculating the dynamics of anisotropic flow structure formation in quasi two-dimensional turbulence based on potential vorticity (PV) transport in real space. The general structure of the PV flux in the relaxation processes is deduced non-perturbatively. The transport coefficients of the PV flux are then systematically calculated using perturbation theory. We develop two non-perturbative relaxation models: the first is a mean field theory for the dynamics of minimum enstrophy relaxation based on the requirement that the mean flux of PV dissipates total potential enstrophy but conserves total fluid kinetic energy. The results show that the structure of PV flux has the form of a sum of a positive definite hyper-viscous and a negative or positive viscous flux of PV. Turbulence spreading is shown to be related to PV mixing via the link of turbulence energy flux to PV flux. In the relaxed state, the ratio of the PV gradient to zonal flow velocity is homogenized. This homogenized quantity sets a constraint on the amplitudes of PV and zonal flow in the relaxed state. The second relaxation model is derived from symmetry principles alone. The form of PV flux contains a nonlinear convective term in addition to viscous and hyper-viscous terms. For both cases, the transport coefficients are calculated using perturbation theory. For a broad turbulence spectrum, a modulational calculation of the PV flux gives both a negative viscosity and a positive hyper-viscosity. For a narrow turbulence spectrum, the result of a parametric instability analysis shows that PV transport is also convective. In both relaxation and perturbative analyses, it is shown that turbulent PV transport is sensitive to flow structure, and the transport coefficients are nonlinear functions of flow shear.



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.