Welcome to the FLASH center

The Flash Center for Computational Science at the University of Chicago has been home to several cross-disciplinary computational research projects in its 20-year existence. Anchoring our work is the FLASH code, an open radiation MHD simulation code for plasma physics and astrophysics with a wide international user base. Research projects include the on-going development of the FLASH code, the study of astrophysical processes mediated by magnetic fields, HPC simulation campaigns on the largest supercomputers in the world, and our breakthrough Laboratory Astrophysics experiments at the world's largest laser facilities. READ MORE ABOUT US IN PHYSICS TODAY...

NEWS -- PSD SPOTLIGHT: Ellen Harder

The Flash Center's Business Administrator Ellen Harder is in the Spotlight HERE on UChicago's Physical Sciences Division Website.

NEWS -- FLASH CENTER TEAM AWARDED 2019 DAWSON AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PLASMA PHYSICS RESEARCH

APS NEWS, July 12, 2019
PETROS TZEFERACOS and DONALD LAMB are among the recipients of the American Physical Society’s 2019 Dawson Award for their “innovative experiments that demonstrate turbulent dynamo in the laboratory, establishing laboratory experiments as a component in the study of turbulent magnetized plasmas, and opening a new path to laboratory investigations of other astrophysical processes.”

NEWS -- THE RELEASE OF FLASH 4.6

The Flash Center Code Group is pleased to announce the release of an updated version of the FLASH code: FLASH 4.6! The DOWNLOAD is available to all with a username and password. For new users, or to update your email address, please initiate a CODE REQUEST.

NEWS -- FLASH CENTER TURNS 20, WELCOMES NEW DIRECTOR

UChicago PSD Press Release, October 29, 2018
As The Flash Center celebrates its 20th anniversary, Research Assistant Professor Petros Tzeferacos steps into his new role as Director.
READ THE ARTICLE AT THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES DIVISION WEBSITE


NEWS -- ASTROPHYSICISTS SETTLE CENTURY-OLD COSMIC DEBATE ON MAGNETISM OF PLANETS AND STARS

UChicago News, By Robert Mitchum, February 9, 2018
Flash Center astrophysicists demonstrate turbulent dynamo, the mechanism thought to generate cosmic magnetic fields, using world’s most powerful lasers... READ THE ARTICLE AT UCHICAGO NEWS...
*Also read our paper in NATURE COMMUNICATIONS

NEWS -- FLASH CENTER TEAM UNCLOAKS MAGNETIC FIELDS OF COSMIC EVENTS

UChicago News, By Robert Mitchum, January 4, 2018
Flash Center and MIT scientists describe a new method for acquiring quantitative, high-resolution information about magnetic fields... READ THE ARTICLE AT UCHICAGO NEWS...
*Also read our paper in REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS

NEWS -- THE RELEASE OF FLASH 4.5

The Flash Center Code Group is pleased to announce the release of an updated version of the FLASH code: FLASH 4.5! This update has a moderate amount of changes from FLASH 4.4, and a number of new features. The DOWNLOAD is available to all with a username and password. For new users, or to update your email address, please initiate a CODE REQUEST.

NEWS -- FLASH CENTER EXPERIMENTS USING THE OMEGA LASER SYSTEMS

VIEW A PHOTO HERE of the team at the National Laser Users Facility and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester.

NEWS -- FLASH CENTER STUDYING ORIGIN OF COSMIC MAGNETIC FIELDS USING OMEGA LASER

Magnetic fields are everywhere in the universe, from the Sun and other stars, to galaxies and clusters of galaxies. But the origin of these magnetic fields, and why they are as strong as they are, remain a mystery. Nonlinear amplification of seed magnetic fields by turbulence is a widely invoked explanation for how cosmic magnetic fields become as strong as we observe them to be. But this mechanism – which is called the turbulent dynamo – has never been demonstrated in the laboratory.

Now, an international team of scientists led by the Flash Center for Computational Science has been awarded time at the Omega laser – one of the most powerful lasers in the world – to create a magnetized turbulent plasma and see if the seed magnetic fields are amplified by an enormous amount, as scientists have postulated. To do this, the team fires intense lasers at two targets, creating two plasma jets that each flow through a grid and become turbulent. The jets then collide, making the plasma even more turbulent. The experiment is expected to produce magnetic Reynolds numbers Rm > 1000 – far greater than the value Rm > 200 theorists say is needed for the turbulent dynamo mechanism to work.

The international scientific team conducting the experiment includes members from the University of Oxford, UK; the University of Rochester; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Ecole Polytechnique, France; and the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Korea; as well as the Flash Center at the University of Chicago. The experiment at the Omega laser and the Flash Center’s research in high energy density physics are both supported by the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration.

FLASH 3D simulation of the Omega experiment


FLASH full-physics 3D simulation of the Omega experiment. Two foil targets, machined with cylindrical wells in the center, are illuminated with lasers to drive colliding flows. In the path of the flows, two meshes are placed to stir turbulence with a controlled driving scale. The time lapses of density logarithm (rendering) and magnetic field magnitude (three-slice) show the laser-driven jets traversing the grids and colliding at the center. The self-generated Biermann battery fields are amplified to Mega-Gauss values by the induced turbulence.