National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Hamiltonian Transport." National Research Council. 1995. Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4936.

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THEORETICAL AND COMPUTATIONAL PLASMA PHYSICS 159 retical and simulation capabilities developed to understand this new generation of small- to intermediate-scale laboratory experiments will set standards for modeling space and astrophysical plasmas. Technological advances promise to create fundamentally new classes of plasma experiments and to enable new diagnostics. For example, as discussed in Chapter 8, our conceptual understanding of plasma dynamics will be enriched by visualization techniques only now becoming available for plasmas. RECENT ADVANCES IN THEORETICAL AND COMPUTATIONAL PLASMA PHYSICS Fusion, space exploration, and defense applications have been the engines of high national priority that have powered fundamental advances in plasma theory and computational plasma physics. In turn, the improved understanding of basic plasma processes has led to the seminal development of important new concepts and applications. Without attempting a complete delineation of significant achievements, in this section the panel highlights selected advances in analytical and computational plasma physics during the past decade that have resulted from the interaction of plasma theory with laboratory experiments and, to some extent, with space and astrophysical plasma measurements, because similar physics manifests itself in plasma systems of vastly different physical scales. At present, laboratory experimentation is dominated by research on magnetic and inertial fusion. Smaller experimental efforts can be found in active space experiments, nonneutral plasmas, coherent radiation generation, advanced accelerator concepts, and turbulent Q-machine plasmas. Additional advances in plasma theory and computations are incorporated in the chapters of Part II covering specific plasma topics. Hamiltonian Transport Apparently dissipative processes, such as particle diffusion, can occur in conservative Hamiltonian systems whenever chaos is present. In the 1980s, advances in understanding such transport were driven largely by anomalies observed in hot, effectively collisionless, magnetically confined plasmas, in which both the particle orbits and the magnetic field line trajectories obey Hamiltonian equations. A plausible contribution to anomalous loss is the effective diffusion induced by such chaotic behavior. Recent numerical and analytical studies have shown that Hamiltonian transport rates can depend sensitively on such unexpected structures as turnstiles, devil's staircases, and stochastic webs. Moreover, the ideas have been applied to estimating the loss of energetic charged particles from magnetically confined systems, reducing the necessity for elaborate and expensive numerical calculations based on guiding- center theory.

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Plasma science is the study of ionized states of matter. This book discusses the field's potential contributions to society and recommends actions that would optimize those contributions. It includes an assessment of the field's scientific and technological status as well as a discussion of broad themes such as fundamental plasma experiments, theoretical and computational plasma research, and plasma science education.

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