Research

The Fusion and Astrophysical Plasma Physics Group develops theoretical framework models of how plasmas move and interact with magnetic fields and boundaries. Numerical simulations are used to model turbulence, transport, gradient relaxation, pattern formation, and system stability, among other properties.

These models provide insight into the phenomenology of plasma and help to guide large-scale simulations used to develop fusion energy technology.


Projects

3-panel of research figure

Avalanching and turbulence spreading

How does turbulence and turbulent mixing propagate and penetrate stable regions?

Zonal flow scale selection and staircase formation

Why do zonal flow patterns select the scale they do? What are the consequences?

Flow pattern formation in linear devices CSDX

How do azimuthal (zonal) and axial flows interact and compete for free energy?

Cosmic ray acceleration

How are high energy cosmic rays accelerated?
How do plasma physics processes accelerate a simple nucleon to the energy of a home run baseball in flight?

L → H transition

What is the physics of the forward and back transitions to/from the remarkable good confinement state of H-mode?

Elasticity in turbulent spinodal decompositions

What determines the size of the blobs formed? What properties does the spinodal decomposition turbulence have?


Also see Publications.

3-panel of research figure

Presentations

Turbulence and Transport in Elastic Systems: A Look at Some Very Simple Examples
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Keynote Lecture, WIN 2018 (4th International Conference on Wave Interaction), Johannes Kepler University — Linz, Austria, 04 April 2018

On the Transport Physics of the Density Limit
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Invited Lecture, École Polytechnique — Paris, France, 24 April 2018

On the Transport Physics of the Density Limit
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Invited Lecture, J-TEXT Lab, Huazhong University of Science and Technology — Wuhan, China, 02 June 2018

On the Transport Physics of the Density Limit
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Plenary–Invited Talk, 8th APTWG (Asia-Pacific Transport Working Group), Chengdu University of Technology-SWIP — Leshan, China, 13 June 2018

Ecology of Flows and Drift Wave Turbulence: Reduced Models and Applications
Rima J. Hajjar (presenter)
Thesis Defense, Engineering Physics, UC San Diego — San Diego, CA, USA, 26 February 2018

What is the Mechanism for the Emergence and Sustainment of Staircase Structure?
W. Guo (presenter), P.H. Diamond, and A. Ashourvan
Oral Presentation, J-TEXT Laboratory, Huazhong University of Science and Technology — Wuhan, China, 12 March 2018

Turbulence and Transport in Elastic Media: A New Look at Classic Themes
X. Fan (presenter), P.H. Diamond, and Luis Chacón
**Student Poster Award** Sherwood Fusion Theory Conference, Auburn University — Auburn, Alabama, USA, 23 April 2018

CR Acceleration Mechanisms in SNRs: Stress Test by AMS-02 Recent Data
M. Malkov (presenter)
Invited Talk, AMS-02 Days at La Palma — La Palma, Spain, 12 April 2018

A Closer Look at Turbulence Spreading: How Bistability Admits Intermittent, Propagating Turbulence Pulses
R.A. Heinonen (presenter) and P.H. Diamond
Poster Presentation, US Transport Task Force Workshop — San Diego, California, 09 May 2018

Dynamics of Zonal Shear Collapse in Hydrodynamic Electron Limit ↔ Transport Physics of the Density Limit
R. Hajjar (presenter), P.H. Diamond, and M. Malkov
**Student Presentation Award**, US Transport Task Force Workshop — San Diego, California, 10 May 2018

Physics of Scale Selection for Mesoscale Patterns in Drift Wave Turbulence: Special Focus on Physics of E x B Staircase
W. Guo (presenter), P.H. Diamond, and Arash Ashourvan
Invited Talk, 8th APTWG (Asia-Pacific Transport Working Group), Chengdu University of Technology-SWIP — Leshan, China, 13 June 2018

Multi-scale and Multi-step: Zonal Shearing Patterns in Drift-ETG Turbulence
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Poster Presentation, US/EU Transport Task Force Workshop — Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, 26 April 2017

Pattern Formation in Magnetically Confined Plasmas: Why It Matters
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Oral Presentation, Umezawa Memorial Colloquium, Department of Physics, University of Alberta — Alberta, Canada, May 2017

Stochastic Phase Dynamics in Turbulent Regimes: some thoughts toward a unified model
P.H. Diamond (presenter) (with Z.B. Guo, P.W. Xi, X.-Q. Xu)
DIII-D Science Meeting 2017 — 02 June 2017

Mode Competition, Saturation Mechanisms and Spatial Patterns in Multi-scale Turbulence – a Selected Overview
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Invited Talk, Asia-Pacific Transport Working Group (APTWG), Asia-Pacific Plasma Theory Conference (APPTC), Nagoya University — Nagoya, Japan, 06 June 2017

On the Physics of Avalanche Formation in Confined Plasmas
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Invited Talk, 9th Festival de Théorie — Aix-en-Provence, France, 04 July 2017

Synchronization and Phase Dynamics — An Introduction
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Invited Lecture, 9th Festival de Théorie — Aix-en-Provence, France, 04 July 2017

Elastic Turbulence in the Cahn–Hilliard–Navier–Stokes System — A New Look at Familiar Themes in Turbulence
P.H. Diamond (presenter), X. Fan, and L. Chacon)
Invited Talk, AAPPS-DPP — Chengdu, China, 18 September 2017

Selected Topics in MHD (series of four pedagogical lectures given as Visiting Professor)
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Invited Lectures, SWIP — Chengdu, China, September 2017

Quasi-Geostrophic Fluids and Vlasov Plasmas: Parallels and Intersections
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Invited Talk, Workshop on Vlasov-Poisson in Cosmology and Plasma Physics: Monokinetic and Multi-beam/stream Solutions, Wolfgang Pauli Institute — Vienna, Austria, 21 December 2017

Fluid Dynamics for Physicists (mini-course/lecture series)
P.H. Diamond (presenter)
Invited Lectures, Peking University — Beijing, China, December 2017

Collisionless Shocks: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon of the Universe
Charles Kennel and M. Malkov (presenter)
Invited Talk, Space Research Institute’s International Forum: Sputnik, 60 Years Along the Path of Discoveries — Moscow, Russia, 03 October 2017

Acceleration of CRs in SNR Shocks: Acid Test
M.A. Malkov (presenter)
Invited Talk, Joint Space–Science Institute—Cosmic Accelerators: Understanding Nature’s High-Energy Particles and Radiation — Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 09 November 2017

From Scatter-free to Diffusive Propagation of Energetic Particles: Exact Solution of Fokker–Planck Equation
M.A. Malkov (presenter)
Poster Presentation, Joint Space–Science Institute—Cosmic Accelerators: Understanding Nature’s High-Energy Particles and Radiation — Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 06 November 2017

Anomalies in Cosmic Ray Composition: Explanation Based on Mass-to-Charge Ratio
A. Hanusch, T. Liseykina, and M. Malkov (presenter)
Poster Presentation, Joint Space–Science Institute—Cosmic Accelerators: Understanding Nature’s High-Energy Particles and Radiation — Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 06 November 2017

Transport of Energetic Particles in Astrophysical Plasmas: from Rectilinear to Diffusive Propagation
M. Malkov (presenter)
Invited Talk, 16th Annual International Astrophysics Conference — Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, March 2017

Competition of Mean Perpendicular and Parallel Flows in a Linear Device
J.C. Li (presenter), P.H. Diamond, R. Hong, and G. Tynan
Poster Presentation, US/EU Transport Task Force — Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, 26 April 2017

Outstanding Problems in Astroparticle Physics for Plasma Physicists
M. Malkov (presenter)
Invited Seminar, Joint Seminar Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering & Center For Energy Research, University of California San Diego — San Diego, California, USA, 12 April 2017

The Edge Shear Flows and Particle Transport near Density Limit of the HL-2A Tokamak
Hong, R. (presenter), G.R. Tynan, P.H. Diamond, L. Nie, D. Guo, R. Ke, T. Long, Y. Wu, B. Yuan, and M. Xu.
Oral Presentation, US/EU Transport Task Force Workshop — Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, 25 April 2017

A Model for Axial Flow and Profile Evolution in the CSDX Linear Device
R. Hajjar (presenter), P.H. Diamond, R. Hong, S. Thakur, and G.R. Tynan
Poster Presentation, US/EU Transport Task Force — Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, 27 April 2017

Cascades, ‘Blobby’ Turbulence, and Target Pattern Formation in Elastic Systems
X. Fan (presenter), P.H. Diamond, and Luis Chacón
Poster Presentation, Sherwood Fusion Theory Conference, MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center — Annapolis, Maryland, USA, 02 May 2017

Zonal Flow Patterns: How Toroidal Coupling Induces Phase Jumps and Shear Layers
Guo, Z. (presenter) and P.H. Diamond
Invited Talk, 9th Festival de Théorie Conference — Aix-en-Provence, France, 04 July 2017

Competition of Mean Perpendicular and Parallel Flows in a Linear Device
Li, J.C. (presenter), P.H. Diamond, R. Hong, and G.R. Tynan
Short Talk, 9th Festival de Théorie Conference — Aix-en-Provence, France, 18 July 2017

Bistable Dynamics of Turbulence Intensity in a Corrugated Temperature Profile
Guo, Z.B. (presenter) and P.H. Diamond
Invited Talk, AAPPS-DPP — Chengdu, China, 19 September 2017

Turbulence in Elastic Media: A New Look at Classic Themes
Fan, X. (presenter), P.H. Diamond, and L. Chacón
Invited Talk, APS—59th Annual Meeting — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 23 October 2017

Anomalies in Cosmic Ray Composition: Explanation Based on Mass-to-Charge Ratio
Hanusch, A, T. Liseykina, and M. Malkov (presenter)
Poster Presentation, APS—59th Annual Meeting — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 23 October 2017

From Scatter-free to Diffusive Propagation of Energetic Particles: Exact Solution of Fokker–Planck Equation
M.A. Malkov (presenter)
Poster Presentation, APS—59th Annual Meeting — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 23 October 2017

Single Eddy Mixing in Cahn–Hilliard Flows
Fan, X. (presenter), P.H. Diamond, and L. Chacón
Poster Presentation, APS—59th Annual Meeting — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 25 October 2017

Dynamics of Staircase Formation: Reduced Model of Beta Plane Turbulence
Diamond, P.H. and M.A. Malkov (presenter)
Poster Presentation, APS—59th Annual Meeting — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 25 October 2017

Tracing the Pathway from Drift-wave Turbulence with Broken Symmetry to the Onset of Sheared Axial Flow
Hong, R. (presenter), J.C. Li, S. Chakraborty-Thakur, R. Hajjar, P.H. Diamond, and G.R. Tynan.
Poster Presentation, APS—59th Annual Meeting — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 25 October 2017

Modelling Axial Flow Generation and Profile Evolution in the CSDX Linear Device
Hajjar, R.J. (presenter), P.H. Diamond, G.R. Tynan, R. Hong, and S. Thakur
Poster Presentation, APS—59th Annual Meeting — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 25 October 2017

Studies of Turbulence-driven Flows: Competition in a Straight Magnetic Field and Revisiting Zonal Flow Saturation
Li, J.C. (presenter), P.H. Diamond, R. Hong, and G. Tynan
Poster Presentation, APS—59th Annual Meeting — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 25 October 2017

Collisionless Shocks and Particle Acceleration
Mischa Malkov
Invited Talk, AGU 2016 Fall Meeting — San Francisco, CA, USA, 13 December 2016

Propagation of Energetic Particles Through Heliosphere - Exact Solution of Fokker-Planck equation
Mischa Malkov
Poster Presentation, AGU 2016 Fall Meeting — San Francisco, CA, USA, 13 December 2016

How Phase Patterns Define Zonal Flow Structure and Avalanche Scale
Zhibin Guo and Patrick H. Diamond
Poster Presentation, 58th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — San Jose, CA, USA, 03 November 2016

L-H Transition Threshold Physics at Low Collisionality
Mischa Malkov
Poster Presentation, 58th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — San Jose, CA, 03 November 2016

Positron Anomaly in Galactic Cosmic Rays: Constraining Dark Matter Contribution
Mischa Malkov
Poster Presentation, 58th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — San Jose, CA, USA, 03 November 2016

Proton and Helium Injection Into First Order Fermi Acceleration at Shocks: Hybrid Simulation and Analysis
Mischa Malkov
Poster Presentation, 58th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — San Jose, CA, USA, 03 November 2016

Intrinsic Axial Flows in CSDX and Dynamical Symmetry Breaking in ITG Turbulence
Jiacong Li
Poster Presentation, 58th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — San Jose, CA, USA, 03 November 2016

Modeling Studies of Transport Bifurcation in the Drift Wave Turbulent Plasma of CSDX
Reema Hajjar
Poster Presentation, 58th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — San Jose, CA, USA, 03 November 2016

Cascades and Spectra of Elastic Turbulence in 2D: Spinodal Decomposition & MHD
Xiang Fan
Poster Presentation, 58th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — San Jose, CA, USA, 31 October 2016

New Results in Negative Viscosity Models for Fusion Plasma Dynamics
P.H. Diamond
Poster Presentation, 26th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference — Kyoto, Japan, 10 October 2016

L-H Transition Threshold Physics at Low Collisionality
M.A. Malkov
Poster Presentation, 26th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference — Kyoto, Japan, 19 October 2016

Phase Locking, Phase Slips, and Turbulence
Z.B. Guo
Poster Presentation, 26th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference — Kyoto, Japan, 18 October 2016

Cascades and Spectra of 2D Cahn-Hilliard-Navier-Stokes (CHNS) Turbulence
X. Fan
Oral Talk, Advances in Geophysical and Astrophysical Turbulence (AGAT) — Cargese, Corsica, France, 05 August 2016

Models of the L-H Transition: A Look at an Evolving Store
P.H. Diamond
Oral Talk, The 18th International Congress on Plasma Physics (ICPP) — Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 29 June 2016

How Mesoscopic Staircases Condense to Macroscopic Barriers
P.H. Diamond
Oral Talk, The 6th Asia-Pacific Transport Working Group (APTWG) Meeting — Seoul, Korea, 21 June 2016

Self Organized Criticality → OV with MFE Focus
P.H. Diamond
Special Lecture, The 6th Asia-Pacific Transport Working Group (APTWG) Meeting — Seoul, Korea, 21 June 2016

Climbing the Potential Vorticity Staircase: How Profile Modulations Nucleate Profile Structure and Transport Barriers
P.H. Diamond
Keynote Lecturer, Wave Interactions Workshop — WIN2016, Linz, Austria, 26 April 2016

L-H Transition Threshold Physics for Weakly Collisional Plasmas
Mikhail Malkov
Poster Presentation, U.S. Transport Task Force Workshop — Denver, CO, USA, 30 March 2016

How Phase Patterns Define Zonal Flow Structure and Avalanche Scale
Zhibin B. Guo
Poster Presentation, U.S. Transport Task Force Workshop — Denver, CO, USA, 31 March 2016

On the Physics of Intrinsic Flow in Plasmas Without Magnetic Shear
Jiacong Li
Plenary Session Talk, 2016 Transport Task Force Workshop — Denver, CO, USA, 31 March 2016

Memory, cascades and Spectra in Models of 2D MHD and Elastic Turbulence
Xiang Fan
Poster Presentation, U.S. Transport Task Force Workshop — Denver, CO, USA - 31 March 2016

A Reduced Model of ExB and PV Staircase Formation and Dynamics
Patrick H. Diamond
Poster Presenation, 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — Savannah, GA, USA, 18 November 2015

Physics of the Power Threshold Minimum for L-H Transition
Mikhail Malkov
Poster Presentation, 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma — Physics, Savannah, GA, USA 18 November 2015

Potential Vorticity (PV) Dynamics and Models of Zonal Flow Formation
Pei-Chun Hsu
Poster Presentation, 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — Savannah, GA, USA, 18 November 2015

Symmetry Breaking by Parallel Flow Shear: Dynamics of Intrinsic Axial Flow in a Linear Device, and Its Implication for Intrinsic Rotation in Tokamaks
Jiacong Li
Poster Presentation, 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — Savannah, GA, USA, 18 November 2015

2D Spinodal Decomposition in Forced Turbulence: Structure Formation in a Challenging Analogue of 2D MHD Turbulence
Xiang Fan
Poster Presentation, 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics, Savannah, GA — 18 November 2015

Dynamics of Intrinsic Axial Flow in a Cylindrical Experimental Plasma
Jiacong Li
Journal Club Talk — La Jolla, CA, USA, 13 November 2015

Physics of the Power Threshold Minimum for L-H Transition
Mikhail Malkov
The 15th Workshop in H-Mode Physics and Transport Barriers, Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics — Munich, Germany, 21 October 2015

Cosmic Ray Confinement and Transport Models for Probing Their Putative Sources
Mikhail Malkov
Max-Planck Institut fur Kernphysik — Heidelberg, Germany, 16 October 2015

Relaxation and the Dynamics of Staircase Formation: Some Physics Beyond the Color VGs
P.H. Diamond
Festival de Theorie: "Pathways to Relaxation" — Aix-en-Provence, France, 17 July 2015

2D Spinodal Decomposition in Forced Turbulence
Xiang Fan
Festival de Theorie: "Pathways to Relaxation" — Aix-en-Provence, France, 07 July 2015

Pattern Formation in Magnetically Confined Plasmas: Why Staircases are Inevitable
P.H. Diamond
Invited Talk, Institute for Fusion Theory and Simulation, Zhejiang University — Hangzhou, China, 16 June 2015

On the Collisionless Damping and Saturation of Zonal Flows
P.H. Diamond
Plenary Talk, The 5th Asia Pacific Transport Working Group International Conference — Dalian, China, 03 June 2015

Potential Vorticity (PV) Dynamics and Models of Zonal Flow Formation
Pei-Chun Hsu
Thesis Defense, 29 May 2015

Physics of the Power Threshold Minimum for L-H Transition
M.A. Malkov
Plenary Talk, US-EU Transport Task Force — Salem, MA, 30 April 2015

Potential Vorticity Dynamics and Models of Zonal Flow Formation
Pei-Chun Hsu
Poster Presentation, US-EU Transport Task Force — Salem, MA, 30 April 2015

Cosmic Ray Acceleration: the need and ways of doing it faster
M.A. Malkov
Accelerating Cosmic-Ray Comprehension — Princeton, NJ, USA 13 April 2013

Pattern Formation in Confined Plasmas: Why Staircases are Inevitable in Drift-Rossby Turbulence
P.H. Diamond
Science Nonlineaire — Paris, France, 18 March 2015

Cosmic Ray Self-Confinement, Escape and Transport
M.A. Malkov
56th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — New Orleans, LA, USA 28 October 2014

Ion-acoustic Shocks with Reflected Ions
M.A. Malkov
Poster Presentation, 56th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — New Orleans, LA, USA 27 October 2014

L-H Transition Dynamics and Power Threshold Minimum
M.A. Malkov
Poster Presentation, 56th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics — New Orleans, LA, USA 27 October 2014

Selected CR Features from Plasma Physics Perspective
M.A. Malkov
Invited Talk, Workshop on Multiple Messengers and Challenges in Astroparticle Physics — L'Aquila, Italy, 08 Octover 2014

Charlie Kennel's Contribution to the Physics of Collisionless Shocks and the Problem of Cosmic Rays
M.A. Malkov
Science in the 21st Century-Charlie Festival — La Jolla, CA, 28 August 2014

In Search of More Efficient Mechanisms for Cosmic Ray Acceleration
M.A. Malkov
40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly — Moscow, Russia, 04 August 2014

Cosmic Ray Diffusion With Magnetic Focusing - Telegraph Equation?
M.A. Malkov
Poster Presentation, 40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly — Moscow, Russia, 03 August 2014

Cross Phase Evolution and Its Role in ELM Bursts
P.H. Diamond
4th APTWG International Conference — Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, 10 June 2014

Towards a Model of the L-H Power Threshold Scaling
M.A. Malkov
Poster Presentation, US-EU Joint Transport Task Force Workshop — San Antonio, TX, USA, 23 April 2014

Cross Phase Evolution and its Impact on ELM Dynamics
P.H. Diamond
US-EU Joint Transport Task Force Workshop — San Antonio, TX, USA, 22 April 2014


Collaborators and Affiliations

Mayer Hall, Department of Physics at UCSD

UC San Diego: Centers, Projects, and Facilities

Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Center for Energy Research

San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego

Collaborating Research Organizations

Southwestern Institute of Physics — Chengdu, China

WCI Fusion Theory Institute, National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) — Daejeon, Korea

General Atomics — San Diego, CA, USA

Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur — Nice, France


Sponsor Organizations

The work of our research group is primarily funded by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy (Grant No. DE-FG02-04ER54738) and NASA.


Data Management Plan

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Statement on Digital Data Management, our Data Management Plan to share data displayed as charts, figures, and images in our work is to include the underlying digital research data as supplementary information in the published work or indicate that the information can be found on this web site or another digital/institutional repository.