The Wisconsin Plasma Physics Laboratory (WiPPL) operates several multi-investigator, intermediate-scale plasma physics devices, and represents the Plasma Physics efforts within the University of Wisconsin Physics Department. WiPPL serves both UW and external users, and supports the core of a broad research program to understand the flow of energy between fields and particles in plasmas.
WiPPL coordinates the joint operation of the Big Red Plasma Ball (BRB) and Madison Symmetric Torus (MST) devices with a focus on frontier basic plasma science. The combined capabilities of these two devices and their associated infrastructure creates a unique opportunity to lead the world in expanding the basic plasma frontier and to fully realize the extraordinary potential of laboratory experiments to transform space and astrophysical plasma science.
For external users, WiPPL provides a suite of plasma source and diagnostic capabilities on the BRB and MST that manipulate and probe fundamental plasma processes in a variety of geometries. Scientific and technical staff operate the two devices on behalf of all users.
The vision, mission and strategy of WiPPL
Vision: Experimentally advance our understanding of how energy flows between fields and particles in a plasma and thereby advance a major physics frontier while providing an experimental plasma facility with unprecedented range and scope of parameters and operating conditions.
Mission: Push the frontier of experimental plasma physics research, backed by theory and computation, to improve our understanding of natural plasma phenomena while providing an environment for the very best education that only first generation research projects allow.
Strategy: Carry out this mission and vision by
- Creating and diagnosing plasmas with unique and wide ranging dimensionless parameters and geometries capable of studying energy transformation between forms that are inspired by astrophysical and space plasma phenomena;
- Promoting collaborative and outreach activities with space and astro physicists through strong connections between astronomy and physics,
- Exploiting the flexibility of the Big Red Ball and Madison Symmetric Torus devices to address the breadth of topics in energy flow as part of a coordinated multi-investigator Wisconsin Plasma Physics Laboratory (WiPPL) operating as a versatile user facility.