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Astrophysical Plasma Theory

The group focuses on developing reliable models of complex astrophysical systems to understand the origins of energetic particles, such as cosmic rays, their radiative signatures and their role in our Galaxy and beyond

We explore the physical processes that govern particle acceleration and dynamics, plasma physics, and radiative signatures in different scenarios, guided by theory, simulations, laboratory experiments, and observations. Our work includes studying supernova remnants, massive stellar clusters, extra-galactic jets, and gamma-ray bursts to address the multi-scale challenge of understanding how particles are energized to extreme values in the Universe. We also develop and utilize advanced plasma simulation techniques to capture the relevant energy and length scales of astrophysical systems. We do this in close collaboration with our colleagues in the Non-thermal Astrophysics Division


Group Members

NameRaumTel. +49 6221 516-
Brian RevilleGE305-589
Cormac LarkinGE317-585
Florian SchulzeGE319-591
Jieshuang WangGE316-592
John Kirk (personal webpage)GE312-482
Lucia HärerGE307-484
Makarim BouyahiaouiBO251-831
Nils SchweenGE309-557
Thibault VieuGE310-584
Zhiqiu HuangGE322-484

Former Members

Mr Christian Heppe (IPP)

Dr Gwenael Giacinti  (TDLI)

Dr Michelle Tsirou     (DESY)

Dr Naveen Kumar (Uni. Heidelberg)

Dr Grigorios Katsoulakos

Mr William Lamb (Vanderbilt)




Massive star clusters as a source of very-high energy galactic cosmic rays

The Astrophysical Plasma Theory group at MPIK demonstrated that supernova remnant shocks interacting with collective wind outflows of massive star…

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H.E.S.S. watches a nova outburst for the first time

Last August marked the first opportunity to observe a nova outburst in very-high-energy gamma rays and to follow both its growth and subsequent fading…

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Very-high-energy afterglow of a gamma-ray burst challenges emission scenarios

Researchers from the H.E.S.S. Collaboration succeeded to derive the intrinsic spectrum of the very-high-energy gamma-ray afterglow emission of a…

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