Plasma simulations have been used widely for over 40 years, first giving insights into physical behavior and now providing realistic design information. The simulations form part of a triangle, needing interactions with analytic modeling and lab experiments; the combination, used well, is extraordinarily powerful at advancing plasma devices, from lamps, to RF discharges for plasma processing (of semiconductor chips), to full fusion reactors. Also, these techniques are well used in space plasma physics.

The talk will be on the use of many particles (thousands to millions) for simulation, skipping the very well developed and widely used fluid models. Our approach, particle-in-cell (PIC), has been in use for 30+ years, with collisions with neutrals added in the past 10 years (Monte-Carlo collisions (MCC) - hence, now PIC-MCC).

Examples will be shown live for rather straightforward models, displaying numerous diagnostics that make the physical behavior clear.

The methodology (numerical methods) will be presented briefly so as to support the accuracy and stability of the computation.

Prof. Birdsall received degrees from The University of Michigan and the PhD from Stanford University in 1951. He joined the faculty of U.C, Berkeley in 1959, after working at Hughes Aircraft Company and the G.E. Microwave Laboratory. He was a codiscoverer of virtual cathode oscillations using computer simulation. He also worked on high temperature plasmas, with emphasis on understanding instabilities, heating and transport, through development and application of many-particle computer simulations. Since retiring from active teaching in 1991, he has co-taught many plasma modeling and simulation short courses and workshops. His current research is on bounded plasmas, especially laboratory discharges, including collisions. He is also involved in microwave electron beam device modeling and simulations, all with visualizations.

Prof. Birdsall is a fellow of the IEEE (1962), APS (1972), and AAAS (1981). He became Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, 1964. He received the Plasma Science and Application Award of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society in 1988 (first time given). He has held numerous visiting professorships.

Click on each of the four thumbnails below for a full-size map image.
SF Area
SF Bay Area
LBL map
LBL map
24-13 map
From highway 24 or 13, take the Berkeley/Tunnel Road/13 exit. Tunnel Road becomes Ashby past the Claremont Hotel. Turn right at the traffic light at College Ave (at the Wells Fargo Bank). Turn right at the traffic light at Durant (one-way street located one block before College Ave ends at the UC campus). At the end of Durant (one block), turn left onto Piedmont, which becomes Gayley Road. Turn right at the traffic light at Hearst at the northeast corner of the campus. Hearst becomes Cyclotron Road. At the LBL guard station the guard can give you instructions to Building 2, Room 100B.

Alternative route from 24-13 (Green line on map; shorter, but through residential neighborhood): On Ashby, turn right at Claremont Ave. (at gas station; second traffic light after main entrance to Claremont Hotel). Immediately bear left around the "island", with the restaurant on it. You will find yourself driving through a wrought iron and brick gateway if you have performed this maneuver properly. Proceed to the end of the street to a forced left turn onto Derby at the UC-Clark Kerr campus. Turn right at Warring at the southwest corner of the campus. After two blocks, follow the road as it bears to the left to join Piedmont Ave at the traffic light (stay in the right lane on Piedmont to avoid a forced left turn at Haste). Continue along Piedmont until it becomes Gayley Road and proceed as described in the previous paragraph.