From October 23-27, Carlos Cartagena (Ph.D. Candidate, Physics) presented a poster at the 59th Annual APS Division of Plasma Physics Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
His project? Carlos is currently working with his advisor, David Schaffner (Assistant Professor of Physics) at the Bryn Mawr Plasma Laboratory (BMPL) to optimize Bryn Mawr’s plasma gun, a machine capable of literally shooting plasma into vacuum chamber. Their study aims characterize the behavior of plasma in a vacuum when it is magnetized through modifying BMPL’s plasma gun with magnetic coils.
As Carlos describes it: “The process is like blowing bubbles through a ‘bubble wand’. In our case, the plasma is the air and the magnetic field is the soapy film. With this type of plasma source, researchers have performed Magnetohydrodynamic turbulence studies with one huge ‘plasma bubble’.” Magnetohydrodynamics is the study of the magnetic property of fluids capable of conducting electricity – such as salt water, electrolytes, and for Carlos’ work, plasma. Carlos and Professor Schaffner hope to characterize Magnetohydrodynamic turbulence by shooting large amounts of these ‘plasma bubbles’ from BMPL’s magnetized plasma gun into a vacuum.
Carlos’ presentation spotlighted the early stages of this research. At the moment, his team are setting up the plasma gun for ‘optimal plasma bubble production’. It is only after this critical optimization stage that the the performance of plasma in a magnetized state can be explored.