PICKSC researchers are developing a number of useful tools for educational use in plasma physics courses. These include visual, interactive demos of physical effects, as well as example input decks that can be run with our codes to interactively investigate physics through simulation.
Guiding Center Drift Demo
Thamine Dalichaouch has written a Guiding Center Drift Demo that can be used interactively to visualize the motion of a charged particle or guiding center in an external electromagnetic field.
Jupyter notebooks for demonstrating fundamental plasma physics phenomena
We have created an open-source repository containing educational Jupyter notebooks for plasma physics. The notebooks use particle-in-cell simulations with the 1D PIC code OSIRIS to illustrate:
- Dispersion relation for electron plasma waves
- Dispersion relation for light waves
- Light waves traveling from vacuum into plasma (with either gradual or sharp gradient)
- X- and O-mode dispersion
- Propagating X-waves
- R- and L-waves
- Faraday rotation
- Velocities: introduction to phase and group velocity (no simulations)
All of the required software executables and libraries along with the notebooks can be run on personal computers with Docker. We have also linked the repository with Binder so that users can launch the notebooks interactively online and run them (available here).
A variety of educational codes will be made available, suitable for classroom use. These codes will provide a sample input file for a variety of important concepts in plasma physics, such as wave phenomena, Landau damping, instabilities, and particle drifts. A common web-based interface is being constructed which can be used by all the codes, including unit translations.
Please contact us if you have ideas for simulation set ups to demonstrate a fundamental plasma phenomenon.