The Wisconsin Plasma Astrophysics Laboratory (WiPAL) is a flexible user facility designed to study a range of astrophysically relevant plasma processes as well as novel geometries that mimic astrophysical systems. A multi-cusp magnetic bucket constructed from strong samarium cobalt permanent magnets now confines a 10 m3, fully ionized, magnetic-field-free plasma in a spherical geometry. Plasma parameters of Te≈ 5 to 20 eV and ne ≈ 1011 to 5 × 1012 cm-3 provide an ideal testbed for a range of astrophysical experiments, including self-exciting dynamos, collisionless magnetic reconnection, jet stability, stellar winds and more. This article describes the capabilities of WiPAL, along with several experiments, in both operating and planning stages, that illustrate the range of possibilities for future users.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics