Transformative Simulation of Shock-Generated Magnetic Fields

PI Name: 
Milad Fatenejad
PI Email: 
milad@flash.uchicago.edu
Institution: 
University of Chicago
Allocation Program: 
INCITE
Allocation Hours at ALCF: 
40 Million
Year: 
2013
Research Domain: 
Physics

The study of magnetic fields requires an understanding the generation of the seed fields that magnetic dynamos require to operate, as well as the dynamo process itself. A promising mechanism for understanding the origin of such fields in the universe is the asymmetric shocks that occur in hierarchical structure formation when smaller halos merge to form galaxies and clusters of galaxies. These magnetic fields are generated by thermoionic currents that result from the asymmetry of the shock—the so-called the Biermann battery mechanism.

Researchers will perform high fidelity, end-to-end, two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) simulations of laser-driven experiments that measure shock-generated magnetic fields. Researchers will use FLASH, a highly capable community code with a large user base, to validate 2D hydro­dynamic simulations and 3D magneto­hydrodynamic simulations of shock-generated magnetic fields. These experiments will require laser illumination of a foil target, driving a shock into a gas-filled chamber, and an array of plasma and magnetic field diagnostics. The collaboration between simulators and experimentalists will produce the first validated 2D and 3D simulations of shock-generated magnetic fields.

Catalyst: