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Understanding space plasma waves and turbulence

Research Achievements

Understanding space plasma waves and turbulence

Oppenheim worked with IGERT trainees Elizabeth Bass and Yann Tambouret on simulations of ionospheric and meteor physics for a better understanding of space plasma waves and turbulence. Yann, who obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry, did this as his minor project. He has been hired to continue the study of gradient-driven turbulence in the ionosphere using massively parallel, particle-in-cell, plasma simulations. This research makes it possible to connect radar measurements of ionospheric turbulence to the physical conditions that initiated that turbulence and to interpret radar data. Elizabeth simulates meteor ablation and ionization in order to interpret observations. This will enable researchers to better characterize the small particle environment of the solar system and its impacts on the Earth. "We are the only research group in the US" -- Oppenheim says -- "capable of performing massively parallel simulations to explore the non-linear, fully kinetic behavior of ionospheric plasmas."