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Massive Open Online Courses on Plasma Physics

Two Massive Open Online Courses are launched on January 1, 2018. Students are encoraged to enroll now.


Plasma Physics: introduction

Plasma, the fourth state of matter, is by far the most abundant form of known matter in the universe. Its behavior is very different from the other states of matter we are usually familiar with. To understand it, a rigorous formalism is required. This is essential not only to explain important astrophysical phenomena, but also to optimize many industrial and medical applications and for achieving fusion energy on Earth.

This physics course, taught by world-renowned experts of the field, gives you the opportunity to acquire a basic knowledge of plasma physics. A rigorous introduction to the plasma state will be followed by a description of the models, from single particle, to kinetic and fluid, which can be applied to study its dynamics. You will learn about the waves that can exist in a plasma and how to mathematically describe them, how a plasma can be controlled by magnetic fields, and how its complex and fascinating behavior is simulated using today’s most powerful supercomputers.

This course is the first of two courses introducing plasma physics and its applications.

More information and subscription here.


Plasma Physics: applications

After completing the first course, you will have the prerequisites to enjoy this one, which deals with plasma applications in astrophysics, industry, medicine, nuclear fusion and laser-plasma interaction.

The physics course, taught by world-renowned experts in the field, including 2 LULI researchers: François Amiranoff and Caterina Riconda, will provide you with an overview of applications in plasma physics. From the study of far distant astrophysical objects, over diverse applications in industry and medicine, to the ultimate goal of sustainable electricity generation from nuclear fusion.

In the first part of this course, you will learn how nuclear fusion powers our Sun and the stars in the Universe. You will explore the cyclic variation of the Sun’s activity, how plasma flows can generate large-scale magnetic fields, and how these fields can reconnect to release large amounts of energy, manifested, for instance, by violent eruptions on the Sun.

The second part of this course discusses the key role of plasma applications in industry and introduces the emerging field of plasma medicine. You will learn in detail how plasmas are generated and sustained in strong electric fields, why plasmas are indispensable for the manufacturing of today’s integrated circuits, and what the prospects are of plasma treatments in cancerology, dentistry and dermatology.

In the third and most extensive part of this course, you will familiarize yourself with the different approaches to fusion energy, the current status, and the necessary steps from present-day experimental devices towards a fusion reactor providing electricity to the grid. You will learn about the key ingredients of a magnetic fusion reactor, how to confine, heat, and control fusion plasmas at temperatures of 100 million degrees Kelvin, explore the challenges of plasma wall interactions and structural materials, and the importance of superconductivity.

Finally, in the fourth part of this course, you will learn about laser-created plasmas and the interaction between plasmas and high-power laser pulses. Applications range from energy production by thermonuclear fusion to laboratory astrophysics, creation of intense sources of high-energy particle and radiation beams, and fundamental studies involving high-field quantum electrodynamics.

More information and registration here.