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Experimental and analytical studies of merging plasma loops on the Caltech solar loop experiment

Citation

Perkins, Rory James (2011) Experimental and analytical studies of merging plasma loops on the Caltech solar loop experiment. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:05252011-110433288

Abstract

Of crucial importance for magnetized plasmas is magnetic helicity, a topological quantity that measures the knottedness or twistedness of the magnetic field. A universal relaxation theory, applicable to astrophysical and laboratory plasmas, dictates the evolution of plasmas towards an equilibrium state based solely on helicity content. The Caltech Solar Loop Experiment creates plasma with injected helicity to study this evolution, which can involve the merging of two plasma loops into a single structure. This thesis studies the merging using two techniques. The first is the construction of an array of vacuum photodiodes to measure extreme ultraviolet radiation from the experiment; the data provides information concerning non-equilibrium radiation losses and magnetic reconnection. The second is a Hamiltonian study of particle orbits to explain how particles can transition from being localized from one plasma loop to being shared among two neighboring loops. This shows how the merging process may initiate and also leads to a general theorem where the action variable serves as a Hamiltonian for the orbit-averaged system.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Plasma; laboratory astrophysics; radiation; radiative losses; vacuum photodiodes; electromagnetic interference; non-equilibrium hydrogen emission; mechanics; Hamiltonian mechanics; action integral; flux tube; flux tube merging; averaging
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Bellan, Paul Murray
Thesis Committee:
  • Bellan, Paul Murray (chair)
  • Polk, James E.
  • Ott, Christian D.
  • Rutledge, David B.
Defense Date:9 May 2011
Author Email:rory (AT) caltech.edu
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05252011-110433288
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:05252011-110433288
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6434
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Rory Perkins
Deposited On:27 May 2011 22:04
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 04:36

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