Assistant Professor of Physics
Areas of Expertise: Fusion energy, solar wind, astrophysics, aurora, experimental physics.
- Solar System Plasma in the Laboratory: The earth is constantly bombarded by plasma from the sun generating huge magnetic structures called corona mass ejections which can impact the earth's magnetic field and generate the aurora. In my lab, we recreate these effects in an experimental setting to better understand the mechanisms at work, and potential how to protect our planet from potentially dangerous space weather.
About David Schaffner
Professor Shaffner’s research interests include: Study of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence in a laboratory plasma device. Analysis of fluctuations in magnetic field, fluid flows, density, and temperature of plasma is conducted using a wide variety of time-series and statistical techniques including spectral decomposition, Wavelets, probability distribution functions, temporal and spatial correlations, conditional averaging, and permutation entropy/statistical complexity. Goals include understanding the mechanisms involved in energy transfer and energy dissipation in MHD turbulence and making comparisons to simulations and satellite observations of heliospheric turbulence (such as that found in the solar wind and magnetosheath). Studies of turbulent suppression and transport mechanisms in edge plasma relevant to magnetic confinement fusion are carried out on the Large Plasma Device (LAPD), a joint NSF/DOE User Facility at the University of California-Los Angeles.