High energy density refers to energy densities exceeding 1011 Joules per cubic meter (J/m3), or equivalent, pressures exceeding 1 megabar (Mbar). High energy density experiments span a wide range of areas of physics including plasma physics, laser and particle beam physics, material science, intense radiation-matter interaction, and astrophysics. These exotic states of matter are created when a high power laser irradiates a solid or a gas target, forming a plasma. The directed energy from the laser is converted into thermal energy as well as charged particles and x-rays. The transition between the initial solid to the final plasma state is also of interest, as it unveils the loss and formation of long-range order with associated changes in the atomic structure of dense matter. This transition region is referred to as warm dense matter. Such plasmas are often of interest from the point of view of astrophysics, as many of the phenomena that occur are similar to those found in specific astrophysical context, for example, supernovae explosions, white dwarfs and the interior of stars and planets.

In particular, our research work is focused on the following areas:

  • Laboratory simulation of cosmological magnetic fields.
  • Magneto-hydrodynamics turbulence and particle acceleration.
  • Measurements of the microscopic state (viscosity, conductivity, etc.) of quantum plasmas.
  • Numerical simulations of correlated many-body systems.
  • Tests of fundamental physics (and beyond the standard model) with high-power lasers.
  • Gravity analogues with high-intensity lasers.
  • Inertial confinement fusion energy.