I am an experimental physicist doing research in "Laboratory Plasma Astrophysics", the study of astrophysical phenomena through carefully scaled laboratory experiments. My experiments are based in the formation of 'plasma', a hot, ionised gas mediated by electric and magnetic fields.
I currently lead experiments with dense plasmas using two main methods:
- Experiments with pulsed-power discharges: By generating a very strong electrical current of approx. 1,000,0000 Amperes in a few hundred nanoseconds, it is possible to quickly vaporise a solid sample and convert it into plasma. At the same time, the strong electrical current generates a magnetic field of the order of ~100 Tesla, which sets the dynamics of such plasmas. Most of the experiments are performed on the MAGPIE (Mega Ampere Generator for Plasma Implosion Experiments) in the Plasma Physics group at Imperial College London, and some of the astrophysical applications I have studied include the formation of supersonic jets from young stars and radiatively cooled shocks.
- High-power laser experiments: Plasma can also be produced by focusing extremely intense lasers which, depending on the geometry of the experiments, can be used to reproduce phenomena of astrophysical relevance, for instance the formation of 'radiative shocks' and the dynamics of supernova explosions.
et al., 2017, Counter-propagating radiative shock experiments on the Orion laser, Physical Review Letters, Vol:119, ISSN:1079-7114
et al., 2017, Counter-propagating radiative shock experiments on the Orion laser and the formation of radiative precursors, High Energy Density Physics, Vol:23, ISSN:1878-0563, Pages:60-72
et al., 2015, BOW SHOCK FRAGMENTATION DRIVEN BY A THERMAL INSTABILITY IN LABORATORY ASTROPHYSICS EXPERIMENTS, Astrophysical Journal, Vol:815, ISSN:0004-637X
Suzuki-Vidal F, 2015, PLASMA PHYSICS How to spark a field, Nature Physics, Vol:11, ISSN:1745-2473, Pages:98-99
et al., 2013, Observation of energetic protons trapped in laboratory magnetic-tower jets, New Journal of Physics, Vol:15, ISSN:1367-2630
et al., 2013, Interaction of radiatively cooled plasma jets with neutral gases for laboratory astrophysics studies, High Energy Density Physics, Vol:9, ISSN:1574-1818, Pages:141-147
et al., 2012, Experimental study of shock waves from the interaction of a supersonic plasma jet with an ambient gas, Shock Waves, Vol:22, ISSN:0938-1287, Pages:249-251
et al., 2012, Interaction of a supersonic, radiatively cooled plasma jet with an ambient medium, Physics of Plasmas, Vol:19, ISSN:1070-664X
et al., 2010, Generation of episodic magnetically driven plasma jets in a radial foil Z-pinch, Physics of Plasmas, Vol:17, ISSN:1070-664X
et al., 2011, Experimental Studies of Magnetically Driven Plasma Jets, Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol:336, ISSN:0004-640X, Pages:41-46
et al., 2011, Interaction of a Supersonic Plasma Jet With an Argon Ambient Using Laser Interferometry, IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol:39, ISSN:0093-3813, Pages:2830-2831