Imperial College London

Dr Francisco Suzuki-Vidal

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Academic Visitor



+44 (0)20 7594 Website




740Blackett LaboratorySouth Kensington Campus





I led experiments on MAGPIE (Mega Ampere Generator for Plasma Implosion Experiments) at Imperial College London.

MAGPIE is the largest University-based pulsed-power facility in the world, delivering an electrical current pulse of approx.1.4 million Amperes in 250 nanoseconds, which is equivalent to about a TeraWatt (1012 Watts) of electrical power. The current is driven into an experimental target or package, which is quickly heated by the intense current and converted into plasma. Simultaneously, the current produces a strong magnetic field of the order of 10-100 Tesla which, depending on the target configuration, dictates the dynamical evolution of the plasma.

Some of the experiments I performed in MAGPIE include magnetised plasma jets (also known as 'magnetic tower' jets) from radial wire arrays, episodic magnetic towers from radial foils, highly laminar hydrodynamic jets from over-massed radial foils, the formation of radiative cooled shocks from the interaction of jets with neutral gases and from the collision between two counter-propagating jets using double radial foils. 


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I led experiments on high-power laser facilities looking at the formation of 'radiative shocks'. These are supersonic plasma flows where the effects of radiation become important due to the strong heating from high shock velocities. Radiative shocks are characteristic of astrophysical systems with 100's to 1000's flow velocities, and can modify the shock dynamics leading to high compression and the formation of hydrodynamic instabilities.

I performed experiments at the OMEGA laser at the U. of Rochester, the PALS laser in Czech Republic, the Orion laser in the UK and the SG-II laser in China. These facilities typically focus a laser energy of 100-1000 J in about 1 ns on a spot size of a few 100's microns. These intensities of ~10^14 W/cm2 rapidly heat a thin solid layer attached to a gas-cell, which pushes the gas at a velocity of ~100 km/s leading to the formation of a radiative shock.


Chantal Stehlé, LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, High-power laser experiments for the study of radiative shocks in astrophysics., 2010

Mahadevan Krishnan, Alameda Applied Sciences Corporation, Alameda, CA, USA, Interaction of supersonic plasma flows with an external neutral gas ambient, 2010 - 2013

Joao Jorge Santos, University of Bordeaux, France, StarkZee project "Towards a universal Stark-Zeeman code for spectroscopic diagnostics and for integration in transport codes". Funded by EuroFUSION

Felipe Veloso, Optics and Plasma Physics Group, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (PUC)