The articles “Laser-driven, ion-scale magnetospheres in laboratory plasmas” appear prominently in the journal Physics of Plasmas, of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), reporting to the february and march editions of this year, and had the participation of the team of the Department of Physics (DF), with the contribution of a student of the master degree in Physical and Technological Engineering, Filipe Cruz, Professor Luís Oliveira Silva and alumnus Fábio Cruz.
The articles were divided into two stages of investigation. A first “I. Experimental platform and first results“, which started from the experience and validation of the magnetosphere study method, which extends through space and allows life to exist on the Planet, by blocking lethal cosmic rays and particles from the sun and stars, and which was carried out in California. And a second part “II. Particle-in-cell simulations“, which had a significant contribution from the Técnico team, through simulations with different parameters, performed through a code (OSIRIS), created and developed by Técnico and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and which came to confirm the results of the initial experiments.
“The great innovation is that, from now on, it’s possible to study these themes in 3D. We were able to make more diagnoses and understand how these systems are formed. In the laboratory we can get an idea of how the magnetosphere forms on Earth”, explains Filipe Cruz.
But there are several applications that can benefit from this study. According to the researcher, “there has been growing interest in the mini-magnetospheres, because it was suggested a few years ago some possible applications for these systems. One would be to grab a spacecraft and create its own magnetosphere and thus protect astronauts from cosmic radiation from space, which could allow long-term travel in which astronauts would be much more protected from cosmic radiation that could be dangerous to human life,” he says.
This study was conducted in partnership with scientists Princeton University, UCLA and the Técnico. With this research is intended to expand other fields of investigation in the future.