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TU Berlin

Plasma Astrophysics Research

We investigate the physics of turbulent flows in neutral and electrically conducting media. In the astrophysical context, the latter correspond predominantly to ionized gas termed plasma.

The common occurrence of turbulence in the universe requires a better understanding of the physical principles underlying its nonlinear dynamics. The fact that most of the visible (baryonic) matter in the observable cosmos is in the plasma state naturally links the turbulence problem to the complex physics of plasmas.
 
Next to the well-known problems here on earth such as controlling the flow in pipes, turbo-machinery or  around vehicles, ships or aircraft, turbulence apparently also controls the creation and the often violent dynamics of, e.g., astrophysical magnetic fields, the transport of cosmic rays, the infall of matter on strongly gravitating objects such as black holes, and often the overall structure of astrophysical systems.

The technical difficulty of measuring or astronomically observing turbulent plasmas and the mathematical nonlinearity of these problems requires the extensive use of numerical simulations on the most powerful massively-parallel supercomputers. Consequently, we also apply and develop state-of-the-art  computational techniques and algorithms.

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