An R-matrix approach for plasma modelling and the interpretation of astrophysical observation

Connor Ballance (Department of Physics, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36830, USA)

Over the last decade an Auburn-Rollins-Strathclyde consortium has developed several suites of parallel Rmatrix codes [1] that can meet the fundamental data needs required for the interpretation of astrophysical observation and/or plasma experiments. Traditionally our collisional work on light fusion-related atoms has been focused towards spectroscopy and impurity transport for magnetically confined fusion devices. Our approach has been to provide a comprehensive data set for the excitation/ionisation for every ion stage of a particular element.

 As we progress towards a burning fusion plasma, there is a demand for the collisional processes involving tungsten, which has required a revitalisation of the relativistic R-matrix approach. The implementation of these codes on massively parallel supercomputers has facilitated the progression to models involving thousands of levels in the close-coupling expansion required by the open d and f subshell systems of mid Z tungsten.

This work also complements the electron-impact excitation of Fe-Peak elements required by astrophysics, in particular the near neutral species, which offer similar atomic structure challenges. Although electron-impact excitation work is our primary focus in terms of fusion application, the single photon photoionisation codes are also being developed in tandem, and benefit greatly from this ongoing work. I will describe our code developments in relation to the application needs that drive these innovations.

Talk presented at the 27th ICPEAC, 27 July – 2 August 2011, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK.


1. C P Ballance and D C Griffin 2006 J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 39 3617

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