Imperial College London

Dr Ravindra T. Desai

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Research Associate



ravindra.desai Website




Blackett LaboratorySouth Kensington Campus




Planetary Magnetospheres

This research area focuses on understanding how planetary magnetospheres interact with their surrounding plasma environments. This is achieved by running global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations to capture large-scale magnetopsheric dynamics.

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. I am also interested in beyond MHD modelling capabilities and examining how kinetic effects propagate upward and affect the global dynamics.


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

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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 and test-particle simulations. 


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

Particle-In-Cell Simulations

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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 a variety of 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 Saturns ionosperic plasma 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.