Plasma Phenomena out of Equilibrium

Informations pratiques

Discipline :


Niveau :

Master 2

Semestre :


Crédits ECTS :


Volume Horaire :

24h Cours

10h TD

Responsable :

Rolf Walder

École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Centre de Recherche en Astrophysique de Lyon

Intervenants :

Rolf Walder


Mickaël Melzani


The lecture discusses plasma processes which are not in thermal equilibrium, with a special emphasis on particle acceleration in space and in planet atmospheres. In a first part, I briefly summarize basic magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), in particular non-linear MHD waves as shocks and solitons. I then give an introduction to basic plasma physics: particle concepts, drifts, and plasma waves. In the second part, I discuss the plasma physics of shock waves and how energy is dissipated in shocks. Such phenomena can be modeled to high accuracy by a collisionless Boltzmann equation, the Vlasov-Maxwell equation. I finally discuss mechanism to accelerate particles in nature: lightening in the earth atmosphere, flares in the solar corona, Gamma-Ray-Bursts, and active galactic nuclei, which populate the universe with high energy cosmic rays, peaking in 1021 eV particles (CERN ~ 1012 eV).

Strongly time-dependent and non-linear phenomena such as shock waves, reconnection of magnetic fields, and associated particle acceleration are best understood on the basis of numerical simulations. Most of the results presented are achieved on this basis. I will briefly sketch the numerical methods used but the main emphasis of the course is the physics behind.

Modalité de l'examen

The grades of the course are provided on the basis of projects which the students perform parallel to the lecture. MHD- and plasma-codes are at the students disposition such that they can explore plasma phenomena by themselves. Alternatively, a student project can also be the presentation of scientific results achieved in the field as collected from scientific papers.