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Plenary Speakers of ICOPS-2022

Prof. Thomas M. Antonsen, Jr. (University of Maryland, IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award winner): Adjoint Methods in Charged Particle Dynamics


Abstract: Physicists and engineers frequently encounter situations in which there is a need to evaluate and optimize via numerical simulation the performance of a particular device or system.  This leads to calculating a figure of merit (FoM) characterizing the system and its gradient in a high dimensional parameter space.  Direct evaluation of the gradient via finite differencing each parameter can become computationally expensive when there are many parameters. In this case a computational savings can be achieved if an “adjoint problem” can be found that produces the desired information without requiring multiple computations. A simple example is the design of a receiving antenna. One wishes to know and optimize the signal received as a function of the incident angle and polarization of incoming waves. It might appear that solution of Maxwell’s field equations would have to be repeated for each possible incident direction and polarization. However, due to the reciprocal property of the governing equations, the desired information is obtained by treating the antenna as a transmitter and calculating the far field radiation pattern. Thus, one computation replaces many. In this talk I will review some problems from the area of plasma physics and charged particle dynamics where adjoint methods have proven useful. Examples include calculation of the plasma current driven by absorption of RF waves in magnetic confinement fusion devices, determination of the sensitivity of stellarator equilibria to changes in magnetic coil locations, optimization of electron beam optics in diodes and accelerator lattices, and optimization of slow wave structures used in microwave and millimeter wave amplifiers.

Bio: Thomas M. Antonsen Jr. received his Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1973, and his Master's and Ph. D. degrees in 1976 and 1977, all from Cornell University.  He was a National Research Council Post Doctoral Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory in 1976-1977, and a Research Scientist in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT from 1977 to 1980.  In 1980 he moved to the University of Maryland where he joined the faculty of the departments of Electrical Engineering and Physics in 1984.  He is currently Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Physics and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor of Electrophysics.  Professor Antonsen has held visiting appointments at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (U.C.S.B.), the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, the University of Nottingham, and the Institute de Physique Theorique, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France.  He served as the acting director of the Institute for Plasma Research at the University of Maryland from 1998 to 2000.  He was selected as a Fellow of the Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society in 1986, and fellow of the IEEE in 2011.  In 1999 he was a co-recipient of the Robert L. Woods award for Excellence in Vacuum Electronics Technology, and in 2003 he received the IEEE Plasma Science and Applications Award.  In 2004 Professor Antonsen was given the Outstanding Faculty Research Award of the Clark School of Engineering.  In 2010 he served as Chair of the Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society. He received the IEEE  J.R. Pierce Award for contributions to vacuum electronics in 2016.  Professor Antonsen's Research interests include the theory of magnetically confined plasmas, the theory and design of high power sources of coherent radiation, nonlinear dynamics in fluids, and the theory of the interaction of intense laser pulses and plasmas. 

Dr. Christopher Deeney (University of Rochester, Laboratory for Laser Energetics): Advances in Direct-Drive Fusion, High-Energy-Density Physics, and Laser Technologies at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics


Abstract: The last five years have seen remarkable advances in four key missions of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE): fusion, high-energy-density physics (HEDP), laser technology, and education. By integrating theory and computation, statistical modeling, three-dimensional diagnostic methods, and improved target fabrication and diagnostics, directly driven implosions on the 30-kJ Omega Laser Facility have produced record neutron yields (>3e14) and hot spot pressures in deuterium-tritium implosions(80 Gbar). The latter indicating that the hydrodynamically scaled generalized Lawson criteria is approaching the required values for alpha heating and ignition at the few megajoules of drive energy. The recent National Ignition Facility results indicate that hotspot ignition is feasible while the Omega program is showing the promise of coupling significant energy to capsules. A key part of the enhanced coupling comes from a deeper understanding of laser-plasma interactions and instabilities. The community is moving to a more predictive capability for these physics topics and generating fundamental measurements (i.e., directly measuring the electron distribution functions). A key conclusion of this research is that future laser drivers will require increased bandwidth, >3% versus the <1% on Omega, to control cross-beam energy transfer and other instabilities. At LLE we are developing a fourth-generation laser prototype, FLUX, to demonstrate that enhanced bandwidth does provide the required control. FLUX is based on a series of laser development activities on our MTW laser and target physics test bed. The OMEGA Extended Performance (EP) facility also continues to advance our understanding many of our laser-plasma interaction experiments were conducted on OMEGA EP plus OMEGA EP is a workhorse for our HEDP research. Recent experiments have advanced an understanding of materials and pressures and densities relevant to planets and stars. For example, experiments on OMEGA EP have measured melt curves of magnesium oxide at pressures up to 1 TPa. Other experiments have measured the Hugoniot of silicon up to 2 TPa and deuterium to 1 TPa. These latter measurements are also relevant to the formation of stars and for inertial confinement fusion (ICF). They also represent the achievement of pressures 50 times greater than those achieved in the pioneering gas gun work of Nellis in 1995. Achievements in ICF and HEDP are enabled through experiments in diagnostics, fundamental understanding of laser-plasma interactions and precision control, and technology advances in fundamental laser technology. OMEGA and OMEGA EP have continued to improve laser operations and performance. In addition, smaller scale lasers such as MTW have enabled the production of 7 J, 20 femtosecond pulses to define a path to 10 to 100 PW lasers, to study the physics discussed in the Bright Light Initiative. In this talk, we will discuss progress in the LLE program and highlight pioneering achievements, many of which are led by our excellent graduate students.

Bio: Dr. Christopher Deeney is the Deputy Director at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. He previously served as Chief Science and Technology Officer, National Security Directorate, at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), in addition to his years of experience at the Nevada National Security Site, Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, and Sandia National Laboratories. Chris is known as a scientific and innovation leader with direct experience running complex operations, especially in high-energy-density physics.
Deeney serves as a key member of the Laboratory’s senior management staff, providing executive-level guidance and direction, including serving as the Laboratory’s Director when required. He participates in the day-to-day management of the Laboratory; fosters successful relationships among University Senior Leadership, medical center, academic and administrative departments, and students; federal, local, and state government officials; peer organizations and laboratories; Department of Energy; National Science Foundation; Department of Defense; private industry; and the local community. He, along with the Director, participates in ongoing University strategy development and specific Laboratory strategies with an emphasis on executability and workforce balance between scientists, engineers and technical staff.
Chris received his Ph.D. in Plasma Physics from the Imperial College in the United Kingdom. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Prof. J. Gary Eden (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Plasma Science and Applications (PSAC) Award winner): Arrays of Microcavity Plasmas: The Unique Properties and Commercial Impact of Low-Temperature Plasma Confined to Mesoscopic-Scale Cavities


Abstract:  The confinement of low temperature plasma to cavities having dimensions below 1 mm has provided access to a new realm of parameter space and plasma-surface interactions that, in turn, has given rise to a broad range of commercial applications. This presentation will briefly review the history of the development of microcavity plasma arrays, followed by a description of several current and emerging commercial applications. The most prominent of the former are: the introduction of a family of VUV/UV lamps of unprecedented power and efficiency, VUV photolithography and photopatterning systems, the disinfection of air and surfaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, materials analysis and identification products, and solar-powered, microplasma ozone generator units for the disinfection of drinking water. Emerging applications such as optical drivers for atomic clocks, plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition (ALD) systems, and the deactivation of biofilms in the human ear, as well as in municipal water distribution systems, will also be discussed briefly.  

Bio: J. Gary Eden has served as a member of the faculty of the University of Illinois (Urbana) for almost 43 years. After receiving the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1976, he conducted research in the Optical Sciences Division of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (Washington, DC). From 1976 to 1979, he co-discovered several lasers, including the KrCl (222 nm) laser and the first proton beam-pumped lasers (Ar-N2, XeF). Since joining the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1979, he and his students have pursued the science and technology of microcavity plasma devices, atomic, molecular and ultrafast laser spectroscopy, and optical physics in atoms and small molecules. He is currently the Intel Alumni Endowed Chair Emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at UIUC. Sixty-three individuals have received the Ph.D. degree in ECE, Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, Bioengineering, or Civil and Environmental Engineering under his direction, and his current research focuses on plasma-semiconductor interactions, plasma photonic crystals, coupling of coherences in atoms, and laser fractal modes.  He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2014.

Prof. Carmen Guerra-Garcia (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): Lightning, Plasmas and Aeronautics


Abstract: These are exciting times for aeronautics. Novel vehicles are projected to conquer our skies, including drones, air-taxis, low emissions, and supersonic aircraft. But getting there will require addressing a myriad of challenges, some related to propulsion technologies and many driven by environmental concerns. Central to all these is aviation’s focus on safety. Plasma technologies and gas discharge physics are well positioned to solve combustion challenges as well as adequately protect these novel vehicles in the Earth’s electrified atmosphere. In this talk I will cover research at the intersection of plasma science and aerospace engineering, including topics related to plasma-assisted combustion and lightning safety. Underlying these applications are principles of gas discharge physics, at largely disparate scales, from km in the atmosphere, to cm in technological applications, which will also be covered including the effects of being airborne. Plasma-assisted combustion is a promising approach to addressing challenging combustion regimes, e.g., ignition of supersonic flows, burning of carbon-free fuels including ammonia, stabilizing lean flames with the objective of reducing emissions, and more. Our work has focused on looking at the two-way coupling of the plasma-combustion interaction, from meso-scale conditions to high power systems, and with an emphasis on studying the impact of the dynamic combustion environment on the plasma regimes encountered. Lightning attachment to aircraft has been investigated for almost a century, and even though lightning risks are not a concern in aviation safety, thanks to strict protection and mitigation measures, lightning protection is as much a science as an art. The state of the practice heavily relies on historical information, experience, and testing: an approach that has worked extremely well while aircraft variations have been incremental but is becoming questionable when looking at the landscape of novel vehicles. To address this need, our work has focused on physics-models for assessment of the lightning threat, as well as innovations for protection and risk reduction.

Bio: Carmen Guerra-Garcia received her Aeronautical Engineering degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, in 2007, and her SM and PhD degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2011 and 2015, respectively. Prof. Guerra-Garcia is currently the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Professor in Energy Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and leads the Aerospace Plasma Group. Prior to this appointment, Guerra-Garcia worked as a research engineer in Boeing Research and Technology Europe, held a post-doctoral appointment at MIT and was a visiting student researcher at Princeton University. Her research interests are at the intersection of aerospace engineering, low temperature plasma technologies, and gas discharge physics. Her current efforts span from aircraft safety issues (interaction of lightning with aircraft, novel methods for protection and mitigation against lightning strike damage), to plasma technologies for ignition and combustion, and combine multi-physics modeling, computation, and experimentation. She is a recipient of the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2021), the Earll M. Murman Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising (2021), EU-US Frontiers of Engineering of the National Academy of Engineering (2021), the International Fulbright Science and Technology Award (2009-2012), the Amelia Earhart Award (2012), and the First National Prize in Aeronautical Engineering studies from the Spanish government (2007). She is a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a Member of the AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Technical Committee.

Dr. Ammar Hakim (Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory): Computational Plasma Physics at (Almost) All Scales


Abstract: Computational plasma physics is a uniquely challenging field due to the extreme scales and disparate physical phenomena involved in the plasma universe. From electron cyclotron motion to resistive time-scales, from the plasma environment around black-holes to fusion machines, plasmas are ubiquitous in the visible universe. In this talk I will summarize the recent sophisticated numerical methods developed to simulate plasmas at (almost) all scales. These modern methods are carefully constructed to ensure preservation of underlying physical principles (like energy and positivity) and often arise from the considerations of the underlying Hamiltonian and Lagrangian structure of the equations. Based on higher-order finite-element or finite-volume schemes, these methods allow simulating a wide variety of problems, from laboratory to space plasmas. I will focus on modern discontinuous Galerkin (DG) schemes for kinetic equations, in which the 6D phase-space is directly discretized, in contrast to the standard particle-in-cell methods. I will show a variety of applications, from simulating planetary magnetospheres to turbulence in fusion machines. I will conclude with a prospectus for the future, which will likely involve the discovery of more efficient and robust methods that run on modern hardware architectures.

Bio: Ammar Hakim obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, specializing in computational plasma physics. Since then he has worked at Tech-X Corporation and is presently a staff physicist at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). At PPPL he leads the Gkeyll Group that aims to simulate plasmas at (almost) all scales. In addition, he serves as the group leader for the Algorithms and Applied Mathematics Group in the newly created Computational Sciences Division at PPPL.

Dr. Omar Hurricane (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory): Lawson Criterion for Ignition Exceeded in an Inertial Fusion Experiment


Abstract: For more than half a century, researchers around the world have been engaged in attempts to achieve fusion ignition as a proof of principle of various fusion concepts. As recently reported, a burning plasma state, where the alpha-heating in the plasma is the primary source of heating, was achieved in laboratory experiments. Following the Lawson criterion, an ignited plasma is one where the fusion heating power is high enough to overcome all the physical processes that cool the fusion plasma, creating a positive thermodynamic feedback loop with rapidly increasing temperature. In inertially confined fusion, ignition is a state where the fusion plasma can begin ``burn propagation'' into surrounding cold fuel, enabling the possibility of high energy gain. While ``scientific breakeven'' (i.e. unity target gain) has not yet been achieved, this talk reports the first controlled fusion experiment on the National Ignition Facility to produce capsule gain greater than unity (here 5.8) and reach ignition by many different formulations of the Lawson criterion.  In the talk, we will discuss some key basic physics inertial confinement fusion (ICF) principles behind the burning plasma and ignition results as well as discuss future challenges.

Bio: Omar Hurricane is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).  Omar received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1994. He stayed on at UCLA as a post-doc until 1998.  Omar was hired as a Designer at LLNL, working on topics of stockpile stewardship science, but he also found time to design many high-energy-density physics (HEDP) experiments that were fielded on the Omega laser at Rochester and design loads for the Shiva-Star facility at the Air Force Research Lab, the Z-machine at Sandia National Lab, and explosive pulsed-power experiments at the Nevada Test Site.  In 2009, Omar was awarded the U.S. Department of Energy Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for National Security and Nonproliferation for his work and leadership in resolving a 50-year-old problem in thermonuclear design, euphemistically called the “Energy Balance” problem.  In late 2014, Omar was appointed Chief Scientist of the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Program, a position he’s held ever since.  Through the support and nomination of colleagues, Omar became a Fellow of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics in 2016 and was recently awarded the Edward Teller Medal from the American Nuclear Society for his work on ICF physics.

Prof. John P. Verboncoeur (Michigan State University, NPSS Charles K. Birdsall Award winner): Evolution of PIC simulation with applications to rf multipactor


Abstract: Plasma simulation started in the 1960s and was formalized in subsequent decades by Birdsall and Langdon and Hockney and Eastwood. We will provide an overview of key milestones that contributed to the robust state of modern particle in cell (PIC) simulation tools and discuss some remaining challenges for the field. Multipactor and its transition to gaseous ionization breakdown remain one of the most significant limitations in RF device operation, particularly at high power. Nonlinear effects can couple multiple carrier frequencies, cause instabilities and dispersion, and result in temporary failure as well as permanent damage. These phenomena are relevant to conducting and dielectric surfaces, in devices ranging from communications to high power microwave sources, to accelerators and even high gradient microwave circuits and devices. This work is part of a larger effort which includes development of standardized platforms in planar, coaxial, and stripline configurations, with both computational and experimental analogs to enable validation and develop analytic and predictive capability integrated with well-tested experiments. Here, we focus on the computational modeling efforts. We examine the process of initial multipactor growth, surface heating and gas desorption, and subsequent evolution to ionization breakdown. We look at a variety of mitigation schemes, from spatio-temporal signal modulation and wave mode configuration to surface morphology and materials properties. We will even show the indications of two-stream instability (Birdsallís thesis topic) in the transition from multipactor to ionization discharge breakdown.

Bio: John P. Verboncoeur received a B.S. (1986) from the University of Florida and a M.S. (1987) and Ph.D. (1992) in nuclear engineering from the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). He currently serves as Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU). Following appointments as a postdoctoral researcher at UCB and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and as a Research Engineer at UCB, he joined the UCB Nuclear Engineering faculty in 2001, where he founded and chaired the Computational Engineering Science Program 2001-2010. In 2011, he was appointed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at MSU. In 2015, he added an appointment as Professor of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, which he co-founded. His research interests are in theoretical and computational plasma physics and applications. He has authored/coauthored over 400 journal articles and conference papers, with over 5000 citations, and has taught 13 international workshops and mini-courses on plasma simulation. He became IEEE Fellow in 2013, received the IEEE NPSS Shea Distinguished Member Award in 2018, the IEEE Plasma Sciences and Applications Committee Award in 2019, and the IEEE Charles K Birdsall Award in 2022.
Prof. Verboncoeur is Past President of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, past IEEE Director, past Acting VP of IEEE Publications, Services, and Products Board, VP-elect of IEEE Technical Activities overseeing all 46 IEEE Societies and Councils and about $500M in revenue, and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Center for Mobility national proving ground. He is Associate Editor of Physics of Plasmas and serves on the DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. He has led a number of successful startups, including computerized fitness equipment, digital health systems, and distributed publication software, with a role in the USPS mail forwarding system and the consumer credit reports for a big-three credit bureau.

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