Los Alamos National LaboratoryDense Plasma Theory
Microphysical properties of dense, strongly coupled, and quantum plasmas

What is Dense Plasma Theory?

Understanding the microscopic properties of dense, strongly coupled plasmas and their consequences on macroscopic properties through analytical theory and numerical simulations

Shown left is the electron density from an orbital-free quantum molecular dynamics simulation for a warm dense plasma of deuterium at density 10 g/cc and temperature 10 eV. On the right is a molecular dynamics simulation for a one-component plasma (OCP) with moderate Coulomb coupling, \(\Gamma = 10\), where selected particles are colored orange to guide the eye. Other videos of strongly coupled plasmas are available here.

The objective of our research is to achieve a theoretical understanding of the microscopic properties of dense, strongly coupled plasmas and of their consequences on the macroscopic properties such as transport. This involves

  • the development of novel theoretical and computational tools, such as kinetic theory and orbital-free quantum molecular dynamics;
  • the development of practical models and their validation against numerical simulations, such as the effective potential theory; and
  • the application of these models to interesting physics problems with a direct coupling to experiments wherever possible, such as stellar astrophysics, inertial confinement fusion and ultracold plasmas.

Background information on dense plasma physics as well as details of our current research may be found throughout this site.

Our research is currently supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science–National Nuclear Security Administration (SC-NNSA) joint program in High-Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas, and by the Los Alamos Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program.