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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R029148/1
Title: Plasma Physics HEC Consortium
Principal Investigator: Arber, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Dickinson, Dr D Norreys, Professor PA Dudson, Dr BD
Barnes, Dr M Najmudin, Professor Z Wilson, Professor H
Vann, Professor RG Walczak, Professor RA Roach, Dr CM
Kingham, Dr RJ McKenna, Professor P McMillan, Dr BF
Scott, Dr RHH Bennett, Dr K Ridgers, Dr CP
Sheng, Professor Z Browning, Professor P Jaroszynski, Professor D
Chittenden, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2018 Ends: 31 May 2022 Value (£): 227,262
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Feb 2018 High End Computing Consortia Call 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Plasma physics is the study of the properties of ionised gases. The processes, which need to be investigated, cover kinetic theory of matter far from its equilibrium state, fluid dynamics of magnetised and conductive plasmas and the interaction of these across a huge range of time and length scales, often in complex geometries. Such problems are rarely tractable analytically and thus much of plasma physics relies on High End Computing (HEC) to perform massive simulations.

This HEC Consortium will cover all aspects of computational plasma physics. This includes modelling for magnetic confinement fusion (MCF) devices to optimize reactor performance, simulations to optimize laser-particle accelerator sources, novel approaches to high-intensity laser-plasma experiments and laser-driven fusion. In all these areas HEC resources are needed for simulations which are essential to either guide experiments and research programmes (including providing a reliable predictive capability for the performance of future plasma facilities) or to interpret the complex diagnostic sets from coupled multi-scale, non-linear and often relativistic processes.

To help maintain the UK's leading role in fusion reactor design and basic plasma physics the HEC Consortium requires a block allocation of UK National level computing resource, so called Tier-1 HEC. This will ease the access to such facilities and allow the UK to collectively plan computational programmes, which will require many years to complete, in the certainty that the computing resources will be available. Over the four-year duration of this HEC Consortium computer architectures may change and optimising codes for current and future machines is therefore essential. In addition, new physics packages must be developed and implemented to keep the UK at the cutting edge of this research. The Consortium therefore also requires funding for software development to exploit the computing resources and keep codes world-leading.

Applications of the scientific research enabled by the combination of Tier-1 HEC and software support are diverse. Much of the research of the Consortium will be directed at improving reactor designs for fusion power. This is both MCF and laser fusion energy (IFE). For the former the HEC will concentrate on understanding how energy is transported from the hot plasma core and managing the extreme heat loads incident on surrounding walls. IFE's primary challenge is achieving laser-driven fusion by mitigating non-uniformities in the fuel pellet implosion, understanding the generation of fast-electrons which may prevent fusion and designing novel approached to fusion, e.g. shock or fast ignition schemes. Laser-driven plasma accelerators and radiation sources have many forms, ranging from laser-irradiated solids to compact capillary discharges; with applications including fast-ignition based laser fusion, ion sources for radiotherapy and compact ultrafast x-ray sources for penetrative probing.

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Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk