Plasma Physics is a study of matter and physical systems whose intrinsic properties are governed by collective interactions of large ensembles of free charged particles. 99.9% of the visible Universe is thought to consist of plasmas. The underlying physics of the collective behavior in plasmas has applications to space physics and astrophysics, materials science, applied mathematics, fusion science, accelerator science, and many branches of engineering.
The National Science Foundation (NSF), with participation of the Directorates for Engineering, Geosciences, and Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and the Department of Energy, Office of Science, Fusion Energy Sciences are continuing the joint Partnership in Basic Plasma Science and Engineering begun in FY1997 and renewed several times since. As stated in the original solicitation (NSF 97-39), which is superseded by the present solicitation, the goal of the Partnership is to enhance basic plasma science research and education in this broad, multidisciplinary field by coordinating efforts and combining resources of the two agencies. The current solicitation also encourages submission of proposals to perform basic plasma experiments at NSF and/or DOE supported user facilities, including facilities located at DOE national laboratories, designed to serve the needs of the broader plasma science and engineering community.
Dynamic growth in new research areas, fostered by the development of new investigative techniques and tools, continues to present an opportunity for fundamental studies in basic plasma science and engineering. At the same time, there is an increasing need for more fundamental knowledge as underpinning for the many applications of plasmas in modern technology. This program, a continuation of the successful NSF/DOE Partnership in Basic Plasma Science and Engineering begun in FY1997, is a response to these evolving and emerging research opportunities in plasma science and engineering. The focus of the program is to generate an understanding of the fundamental principles governing the physical behavior of a plasma via collective interactions of large ensembles of free charged particles, as well as to improve the basic understanding of the plasma state as needed for other areas or disciplines of science and engineering. Proposals should discuss effective ways in which education and outreach are integrated within the research programs. Proposals directly related to fusion energy studies are not eligible. Some of the general research areas which are included are:
- Chaos, Turbulence and Self-Organization in Plasmas
- Strongly Coupled Coulomb Systems in Plasmas
- Dusty Plasmas
- Non-neutral Plasmas
- Flows and Magnetic Fields in Plasmas
- Intense Field Matter Interactions in Plasmas
- Plasma Surface Interactions as applied to Plasma-Assisted Atomic Layer Deposition and Plasma Catalysis
- Atmospheric Pressure Plasmas and Microplasmas
- Astrophysical and Heliospheric Plasmas
Although the above list is intended to be illustrative, it directly reflects the interests and responsibilities of the NSF Divisions participating in the Partnership and the goals of the DOE SC/FES.