In my research, I investigate the plasma physics of the solar wind and the solar corona. The solar wind is a tenuous magnetised plasma. A plasma is a gas in which the ions and electrons are separated from each other and do not form neutral atoms like in a regular gas. The moving charged plasma particles modify and react to electric and magnetic fields. This leads to a behaviour that is very different from the behaviour of neutral gases like the air.
Under certain conditions, a plasma can be described like a fluid (for example with the equations of magnetohydrodynamics), but often a description based on kinetic physics is necessary. I work on the kinetic aspects of the plasma behaviour in the solar wind. I am especially interested in wave-particle interactions, kinetic waves and instabilities, turbulence, plasma heating, and shock waves.
One of my current major projects is the development of ALPS, which stands for Arbitrary Linear Plasma Solver. ALPS is a numerical solver for the full hot-plasma dispersion relation in a plasma with arbitrary background distribution functions. The numerical code determines the behaviour of kinetic plasma waves including relativistic effects. More details can be found on http://www.alps.space.