Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy

In experimental plasma physics, research is being conducted on:

  • Equilibrium, stability, and transport in fusion plasmas: high-beta tokamaks, spherical tokamaks, and levitated dipoles

  • Magnetospheric physics: trapped particle instabilities and stochastic particle motion

  • Confinement of toroidal nonneutral plasmas

  • Plasma source operation and heating techniques

  • Development of new plasma measurement techniques

The results from our fusion science experiments are used as a basis for collaboration with large national and international experiments. For example, active feedback control of plasma instability developed at Columbia University are guiding research on NSTX at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, on the DIII-D tokamak at General Atomics, and for the design of the next generation burning plasma experiment, ITER. In theoretical plasma physics, research is conducted in the theory of plasma equilibrium and stability, active control of MHD instabilities, the kinetic theory of turbulence and transport, and the development of techniques based on the theory of general coordinates and dynamical systems. The work is applied to magnetic fusion, non-neutral and space plasmas.

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Optical and Laser Physics

Active areas of research include:

  • inelastic light scattering in nanomaterials
     
  • optical diagnostics of film processing
     
  • new laser systems
     
  • nonlinear optics
     
  • ultrafast optoelectronics
     
  • photonic switching
     
  • optical physics of surfaces
     
  • laser-induced crystallization
     
  • photon integrated circuits

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Solid-State Physics

Research in solid-state physics covers:

  • nanoscience and nanoparticles
     
  • electronic transport and inelastic light scattering in low-dimensional correlated electron systems
     
  • fractional quantum Hall effect
     
  • heterostructure physics and applications,
     
  • molecular beam epitaxy
     
  • grain boundaries and interfaces
     
  • nucleation in thin films
     
  • molecular electronics
     
  • nanostructure analysis and electronic structure calculations

    Research opportunities also exist within the Columbia Nano Initiative's NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC), which focuses on electron transport in molecular nanostructures; and the DOE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC), which focuses on conversion of sunlight into electricity in nanometer-sized thin films.

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Medical Physics

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