Quantum Processes in Hot Plasma - Material for the year 2020-2021

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External Lecturer(s): 
Prof. Peter Norreys
General Prerequisites: 

MMathPhys students: B3 Quantum Atomic and Molecular Physics. MSc students: basic atomic physics

Course Term: 

Assessment type:

Course Overview: 

12 lectures.
Weight: 0.75 units
Areas: Astro
Link to submit your homework:
Prof Steven Rose will be marking your work.
Deadlines are:
Friday 13th November, 12 noon (Week 5)
Friday 27th November, 12 noon (Week 7)

Course Synopsis: 

Hot plasma are ubiquitous throughout the Universe and first appeared in the epoch of recombination that produced the cosmic background radiation about 378,000 years after the Big Bang. Since then quantum processes, particularly the emission and absorption of electromagnetic radiation from plasma, have provided essential information about the macroscopic structure of matter in the visible Universe. They are key to understanding stellar structure and evolution (along with helioseismology) by providing constraints on radiative transfer associated with nucleosynthesis of chemical elements in stellar interiors and in supernovae explosions. The effort to harness the immense power of nuclear fusion using magnetic or inertial confinement fusion schemes is being actively pursued world-wide. Indeed, these plasmas are among the most intense sources of X-rays in the laboratory and are used to study materials under extreme conditions of density and temperature. Emerging new tools, such as X-ray free electron lasers, are also being applied to these problems for the first time.

This course will introduce the student to the use of quantum mechanics in the computational modelling of hot plasmas. In the first part, an introduction to atomic processes is first provided to remind students of the basic principles of Slater’s configurational model and Racah’s tensor operator method. Then, the properties of electronic configurations and transition arrays are described, along with how they are used to replace the corresponding sets of individual levels and radiative lines. Following that, we will describe how these are applied to plasma dynamics and atomic processes, along with elegant new methods of super-configurations and effective temperatures. Finally, current applications are described, along with numerical and experimental examples.

Reading List: 

J. Bauche, C. Bauche-Arnoult and O. Peyrusse, Atomic Processes in Hot Plasmas — from Levels to Superconfigurations, (Springer 2015).