Imperial College London

Dr Ravindra T. Desai

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Academic Visitor



ravindra.desai Website




Blackett LaboratorySouth Kensington Campus




Planetary Magnetospheres & Radiation Belts

This research area focuses on understanding how planetary magnetospheres and their radiation belts interact with their surrounding plasma environments. Over the past few years I have developed a massively parallel particle simulation code which runs in-line with our global-MHD simulations, to examine the dynamics of energetic particle distributions within realistic magnetospheric fields. This model won funding under the SPF SWIMMR programme to deliver worst-case space weather scenario prediction to the UK MET Office Space Weather Operations Centre. I am also interested in beyond MHD global modelling.


The left-hand panel shows global-MHD simulations of an interplanetary shock impacting the terrestrial magnetosphere and the right-hand panel shows a Van Allen radiation belt evolving within the MHD fields

Solar Corona and Inner Heliosphere

show research

This research area focusses on understanding how the nascent solar wind and impulsive phenomena such as jets, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and solar energetic particles (SEPs) propagate through the heliosphere. The solar wind and coronal mass ejections are modelled using three dimensional magnetohydridynamic simulations codes. 


The above figure shows a 3-D MHD simulation of a Gibson-Low flux rope erupting at the solar surface from within a magnetostatic solar corona.

Particle-In-Cell Simulations

show research

This research area focuses on modelling fundamental plasma phenomena, such as the generation of space plasma micro-instabilities and the interaction of plasmas with a charged spaceraft, using Particle-In-Cell and Hybrid simulation codes. I am currently supervising several students who are examining how plasma waves are generated in the Jovian system and how Saturnian plasmas interacted with the Cassini spacecraft during the Grand Finale. Cassini

The left-hand panel shows a full PIC simulation of the Cassini spacecraft interacting with Saturn's ionosphere during the Grand Finale. The right-hand panel shows hybrid simulations of an anisotropic particle distribution as it generates an electromagnetic plasma instability.