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Dense plasma systems occur in stellar interiors, giant planets and inertial confined fusion (ICF). Because of the extreme conditions of the plasmas and their remoteness (for the astrophysical examples) or their short lifetime (in ICF), there is still much that is poorly understood about their behavior. Traditional theoretical approaches rely on weak-coupling approximations, and often end up with poorly defined cutoffs for the singular Coulomb interactions. Direct simulation of the motion of the electrons and ions in the plasmas is now becoming possible with massively parallel supercomputers. Plasma simulation capabilities have been added to the particle simulation code ddcMD that allow efficient simulation of dense plasmas on supercomputers. We have used these new capabilities to study electron-ion relaxation, stopping power, and fusion processes in dense plasmas.
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L.X. Benedict, et al., Molecular dynamics simulations of electron-ion temperature equilibration in an SF6 plasma, Physical Review Letters 102 (2009) 205004.