Plasma Astrophysics

In the Plasma Astrophysics Division, we use large-scale numerical simulations that model energy release events and jet formation in active galactic nuclei, interactions between jets and the intracluster medium, the processes by which jets accelerate high-energy particles, and more. Our primary mission is to gain a clearer understanding of the mechanisms of the active astronomical phenomena that are the sources for high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1: The primary mission of the Plasma Astrophysics Division. (Black hole accretion disk image provided by M. Bursa and M. Machida; Jet propagation image provided by T. Ohmura; Particle acceleration simulation image provided by Y. Matsumoto.)

Our division is responsible for developing simulation code designed to help build a unified picture of the universe from large scale structures to planets as a part of the program for promoting researches on the supercomputer Fugaku, Japan’s flagship supercomputer. We conduct research into black hole accretion disks and jets, high-energy particle acceleration, galaxy cluster formation and evolution, and solar physics. Our solar physics research looks at the effect of small-scale magnetic turbulence on the formation of large-scale magnetic fields, and our research into galaxy cluster formation and evolution looks at the role played by dark matter in the formation of structures. The first is closely related to accretion disks and large-scale magnetic field formation in galaxy clusters, while the second is closely related to intracluster plasma distribution and magnetic field amplification. Each of the simulation methods has many parts in common with the others, and the knowledge needed to truly demonstrate the power of Fugaku is shared.