Technische Universität München
Thursday, April 19, 2018
The large mass imbalance between ions and electrons produces a separation of the two species' length and time scales that is a cornerstone of traditional plasma physics. To consider the behavior of a "pair plasma", comprising particles with opposite charge but equal mass, is to revisit much of plasma physics from the ground up. To date, on the order of 1000 papers have explored this topic via a variety of analytical and computational treatments, but the experimental side of the investigation is still in its nascence. Laboratory studies of electron/positron plasmas will enable the first tests of many simulation and theory predictions --- e.g., the stabilization of anomalous transport mechanisms --- with implications for our understanding not only of pair plasmas and astrophysical phenomena in which they play a role but also of traditional electron/ion plasmas. Toward these ends, the goal of the APEX (A Positron Electron eXperiment) collaboration is to create and study pair plasmas confined in the magnetic field of a levitated dipole. This talk will describe how significant milestones to date --- as well as ongoing and upcoming activities --- move the project closer to pair plasma creation.