High Energy Density Physics - Material for the year 2020-2021

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External Lecturer(s): 
Prof. Peter Norreys
Course Term: 
Course Weight: 
1.00 unit(s)

Assessment type:

Course Overview: 

16 lectures.
Areas: Astro
Please submit your homework to Dr Ramy Aboushelbaya via this link:

Course Synopsis: 

In this course, the topics will be introduced for first principles. The student will be taken through the fundamental physics of laser energy absorption in matter up to and including the new laser QED plasma regime at extreme intensities. The student will be introduced to hydrodynamic motion via first principles derivation of the Navier-Stokes equations as well as compression and rarefaction waves. Then a thorough grounding in hydrodynamic instabilities will be provided, including the Rayleigh-Taylor instability and the applications of linear theory. This will be followed by the extension to the convective instability; mode coupling; the Kelvin-Helmholtz; shock stability and the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability. The behaviour of shock waves in one dimension will then be discussed, including the derivation of the Rankine-Hugoniot equations; the effects of boundaries and interfaces; blast waves and shocks in solids. Following that, the physics of convergent shocks will be described. These include homogeneous expansion/contraction self-similar flows as well as shock dynamics. The hydrodynamic behaviour is governed by the equations of state including thermodynamic properties, so the student will be introduced to equations of state for gases, plasmas, solids and liquids. For thermal energy transport, the thermal energy transport equation is derived, as are the effects of the conductivity coefficients, inhibited thermal transport, electron-ion energy exchange, before electron degeneracy effects are introduced. The physics of radiation energy transport will be described, including radiation as a fluid and the Planck distribution function; radiation flux definition; solutions to the radiation energy transfer equations; material opacities; non-LTE radiation transport; radiation dominated hydrodynamics. Finally, dimensionless scaling laws for hydrodynamics will be outlined, ones that provide the student with a link between the fascinating detailed microphysics of laboratory plasma phenomena and exquisite astrophysical observations.

Reading List: 

“Extreme Physics” by J. Colvin and J. Larsen, Cambridge University Press (2014).