Petascale Simulations of Kinetic Effects in IFE Plasmas

PI Name: 
Frank Tsung
Institution: 
University of California, Los Angeles
Allocation Program: 
INCITE
Allocation Hours at ALCF: 
1.5 Million
Year: 
2019
Research Domain: 
Energy Technologies

Inertial fusion energy (IFE) devices hold incredible promise as a source of clean and sustainable energy, but there are significant obstacles to obtaining and harnessing IFE in a controllable manner.

A comprehensive model of laser-plasma instabilities (LPI) is crucial to the success of any IFE scheme, but one so far remains elusive. The physics involved in these processes (including both wave-wave and wave-particle interactions) is complex and highly nonlinear, necessitating the use of nonlinear kinetic computer models, such as fully explicit particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. The ultimate goal—a long-standing challenge—is a constructed hierarchy of kinetic, fluid, and other reduced description approaches capable of modeling full spatial and temporal scales. Kinetic modeling has not yet yielded sufficiently complete understanding across the array of scales necessary to make strong connections with more approximate models and experiments.

This INCITE project uses the popular PIC code OSIRIS to study the kinetic evolution of LPI on meaningful spatial and temporal scales directly relevant to various IFE scenarios. The work, rich in basic science, promises to make a significant impact in the IFE community.