For our next SPC seminar at 3 PM on 24th April, we are fortunate to be joined by Prof Patrick H Diamond (Cambridge/UCSD).  

Patrick is a a Distinguished Professor at UCSD and was awarded the Hannes Alfvén Prize in 2011 for his contributions to turbulent transport in plasmas (  

His seminar, entitled “An Overview of Staircases in Confined Magnetized Plasmas”, will be given in person in BLKT 741 – see full abstract attached. There will be coffee & tea in the level 7 foyer after the seminar.

Although it would be great to see you there in person, we also have a Teams link for joining remotely, please contact  Nicholas Dover to be added .


An Overview of Staircases in Confined Magnetized Plasmas
P.H. Diamond
Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge
Depts. of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics, UC San Diego

This talk is intended as an introduction to layering and staircases in confined magnetized plasmas for a general audience in classical physics. Starting with a brief primer on magnetic confinement physics, mesoscopic layered profile structures, called staircases, are reviewed from the perspective of potential vorticity dynamics. The latter are akin to those of a conserved phase space density. Staircases — produced by inhomogeneous mixing — are notable as exceptions to the familiar trend toward homogenization in turbulence. We’ll introduce several staircase models and discuss how each illuminates the detailed physics of staircase formation. In particular, we’ll see there are several routes to layering, each of which requires only the interaction of two disparate time scales. Thus, layered profiles can be expected to be ubiquitous. Finally, we’ll consider what kind of staircase profiles might be expected in a plasma with a significant fast particle population.

Getting here