Advanced PIC Techniques

★ This course has now ended but you can access the course materials by registering ★
Student Area: access here
Past Course Date: September 19th – November 14th, 2016
Registration Fee: $650 (Regular), $325 (Student)
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This advanced plasma simulation course is a follow up to PIC Fundamentals. It covers three primary areas: particle in cell simulations on unstructured meshes (FEM-PIC), electromagnetic particle in cell (EM-PIC) method, and collision modeling with DSMC. In addition, we cover topics related to particle sampling and variable specific weight.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, you should have a solid understanding of the EM-PIC method. You should also understand how to use the DSMC and Finite Element methods. You should be able to develop a 3D electrostatic PIC code operating on an unstructured grid.

Course Format

The course consists of eight lectures that were conducted through Citrix® GoToMeeting. All registered students receive access to a student area where the course materials are posted. These materials include recordings of the lectures, copy of the lesson slides, and example codes. The course also includes optional homework assignments, which need to be completed in order to receive a certificate of completion.

Course Outline


Slide on FEM formulation and formation of a bow shock captured by the DSMC method. See Advanced PIC Debrief for more.



The instructor, Dr. Lubos Brieda, is the founder and president of Particle In Cell Consulting, LLC, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in providing tools and services for the plasma physics and rarefied gas communities. Dr. Brieda has over 10 years of experience developing PIC codes for a wide range of applications, including electric propulsion, space environment interactions, surface processing, and plasma medicine. His teaching experience includes the position of a Lecturer at the George Washington University.


Completion of the PIC Fundamentals course, or an existing understanding of the Particle In Cell (PIC) method, including particle motion, mesh interpolation, and field solving. In addition, all students are expected to have a basic understanding of numerical techniques, plasma and gas dynamics, and computer programming. The lectures and demonstration programs will utilize the C++ and Python programming languages. Students need to have access to a computer with a compiler of choice. Computer with Internet access will be needed to access the lectures and course material. The course will be conducted in English.

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