Walter Gekelman

Experimental Plasma
Office: 1000 Veteran Ave., 15-70
Phone: 310-206-1772
Basic Plasma Science Facility

Educational Background

Ph.D., Stevens Institute of Technology, 1972

Positions Held

  • Basic Plasma Science Facility (BAPSF)
  • LArge Plasma Device Lab (LAPD)
  • Plasma Science and Technology Institute
  • CMPD

Scientific research Areas
  • Investigations of ion acoustic instabilities in a magnetic field
  • Lower Hybrid wave studies in linear and non-linear regimes
  • Study of Ion Acoustic Turbulence
  • Development of intense neutral beams
  • Pinoeering work on Alfvén waves
  • Investigations of magnetic field line reconnection, magnetic turbulence, tearing of a neutral current sheet, plasma helicity generation, and three-dimensional interaction of multiple current channels.
  • Study of whistler wave Propagation in Non-Uniform Plasmas.
  • Study of mode conversion of whistler waves to lower hybrid waves at density striations.
  • Interaction of relativistic electron ring with Alfvén waves
  • Measurement of ion distribution functions in a plasma processing device using LIF.
  • Study of Magnetic Flux Ropes. (Quasi Seperatrix Layers, chaos, non-local Ohms law.)
  • Study of 3 dimensional magnetic field line reconnection using multiple flux ropes.
  • Use of scientific visualization to present complex data sets
  • Study of plasma sheaths generated by high power fast Alfvén waves
  • Headed a high school outreach program (LAPTAG) for 25 years
Hardware development
  • Constructed the original Large Plasma Device and led a team which built the LAPD upgrade device. A 22 meter-long machine with a 60 cm dia., 18 m long fully ionized magnetized plasma. The magnetic field can be as high as 2.0 kG. It is the largest, most versatile basic plasma device in the world. It is now the center of a DOE/NSF sponsored user facility.
  • Constructed a machine (with Reiner Stenzel) to study Magnetic Field Line Reconnection
  • Constructed a plasma focus device as well as a “Q” machine
  • Development of a novel, quiescent magnetized plasma source , the “SCAMP”, (n/n = 1%, B = 1kG, 10 cm diameter, 2 meter length) which was used to study linear and nonlinear lower hybrid waves, focused resonance cones and attendant nonlinear modifications of plasma parameters.
  • Development of microprobe diagnostics with UCLA (micro-electrical machine) MEMS group.

Author of 192 refereed journal publications, 4 in preparation, has given 170 invited talks at scientific meetings and invited seminars at universities here and abroad, as well as US national laboratories. Mentored 20 PhD’s. in plasma physics.