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Collective and nonlinear effects in quantum plasmas

Research project Plasmas are often described by classical equations. In many cases quantum mechanical descriptions are motivated, however. Within the project studies of collective nonlinear effects are combined with quantum mechanical models.

Within the project nonlinear phenomena in plasmas are studied. One of the most important objective is to find descriptions that covers both collective phenomena and quantum mechanical effects. Cases where descriptions of this kind are required includes laser-plasma interaction, astrophysics, low temperature plasmas and nano-components based on solid state plasmas. In the later type of plasma, surface plasmons propagates in the interface between a metall and a dielectrica. When the size of such systems are decreased, quantum mechanical effects become increasingly important, and put a lower limit of the size that can be constructed.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2008-04-28 2010-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Physics, Faculty of Science and Technology, UMIT Research Lab

Research subject

Physical sciences

Project description

Within the project several aspects of nonlinear and collective effects in quantum plasmas will be studied. An important part will be the further development of self consistent models of quantum plasmas. The models developed so far have shown that the electron spin
properties can induce quantum behavior in regimes previously believed to be purely classical. Preliminary investigations indicate that
these results can be sharpened even more if the hydrodynamical quantum models are generalized into kinetic models, using an
eight-dimensional phase space (i.e. position, momentum and two spin degrees of freedom). This will provide the basis for a thorough
analysis of the transmission between classical and quantum behavior in plasmas. An improved understanding of quantum plasmas is
also a key factor when addressing problems in the recently developed field of plasmonics. Here surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs)
are used for signal transmission in components aimed to be the next generation of computer chips. Within the project it is an
important goal to give an improved theoretical description of SPPs, involving a full quantum treatment, which will be crucial when the
sizes of the components shrink beyond 100 nm. Finally, the project aims to address problems in high-power laser plasma
interaction, including both plasma collective effects as well as quantum electrodynamical effects. The development of high power
laser proposals such as ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure)and HiPER (High Power laser Energy Research facility)make such treatments necessary.