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C. Z. (Frank) Cheng

Office: C-Site T160
Phone: (609) 243-2648



     Chio Z. (Frank) Cheng is the Head of the Energetic Particle Physics Group and also the Head of the Space Plasma Physics Division, Theory Department at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Princeton University. He is a member of the Theory Department Steering Committee, a PPPL Distinguished Research Fellow, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Dr. Cheng's area of expertise is in theoretical and computational plasma physics with applications in fusion research and space physics. He has over 180 publications on laboratory and space plasma physics and has presented more than 40 invited talks at major conferences. In laboratory plasma physics, he has made major contributions in theories of Alfven waves, kinetic ballooning modes, energetic particle effects on sawtooth stabilization and fishbone mode excitation, drift waves and trapped particle modes and plasma transport, and the development of a kinetic-fluid model. In particular, he is the inventor of the toroidicity-induced Alfven eigenmode (TAE) in 1985, which has since been widely observed in toroidal confinement experiments. He is the co-discoverer of the toroidicity-induced drift wave in 1980, which is important in understanding drift wave instabilities in tokamaks. In 1977 he discovered the nonlinear generation of convective cells by drift wave instabilities, which is important in understanding anomalous plasma transport in toroidal fusion devices.
     In space plasma physics, he has made major contributions in magnetospheric physics and solar physics. In magnetospheric physics he discovered a low frequency instability that triggered magnetospheric substorms observed by the AMPTE/CCE satellite and developed a theory of kinetic ballooning instability to explain the observations; developed a theory of mirror-ballooning instability to explain the excitation mechanism of Pc 4-5 waves and their magnetic field-aligned wave structure observed by multiple satellites; developed theories of kinetic Alfven waves and global mirror modes to understand MHD wave activity in the magnetopause-magnetosheath; proposed a model to understand energetic particle injection observed at geosynchronous orbit during substorm events; provided a physical model for calculating three-dimensional global structures of Earth's magnetosphere; and developed a kinetic-fluid model that forms the foundation for analytical theories and numerical simulation for understanding multi-scale phenomena in high beta plasmas in general geometries. In solar physics he has developed a new theoretical model for understanding the physical process of solar flares revealed in soft X-Ray and Hard X-Ray emissions observed by the Japanese Yohkoh satellite; and new theoretical models to understand the formation of solar prominence.
     In computational physics he has made pioneering contributions in the development of a family of the non-variational (NOVA) global stability and wave propagation codes for toroidal plasmas including particle kinetic and resistivity effects; the development of three-dimensional particle simulation codes for studying anomalous transport in toroidal and cylindrical geometries; the invention of an efficient numerical method (splitting scheme) for solving three-dimensional Vlasov-Maxwell equations numerically; and the development of a three-dimensional global equilibrium code for studying quasi-steady global structure of the Earth's magnetosphere.

Link to CV, publication list, space physics activity, etc.







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