Plasma dynamics simulation with PICLas

boltzplatz utilizes the plasma simulation software PICLas, developed by the University of Stuttgart at the Institute of Aerodynamics and Gas Dynamics and the Institute of Space Systems. PICLas allows the prediction of rarefied gas and plasma dynamics under the influence of electromagnetic forces. The code is freely available under the GNU General Public License v3.0 and if you want to participate in the development, contact us!

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Modern numerics & complex physics

With the goal of the approximation of the complete Boltzmann equation in mind, a flexible three-dimensional code framework for particle methods was devised. These methods can be coupled or used stand-alone such as

  • Particle-in-Cell with a high-order discontinuous Galerkin solver for electromagnetic or electrostatic interaction,
  • Direct Simulation Monte Carlo for non-equilibrium, high-enthalpy gas & plasma flows in the high Knudsen number regime,
  • Bhatnagar-Gross-Krook for gas flows close to the continuum regime.


  • Efficient and scalable parallelization concept optimized for high-performance computing
  • High-order of approximation on unstructured grids with the open-source high order preprocessor (HOPR)
  • Mixed finite-element-finite-volume scheme combining the advantages of both methods
  • Broad range of available species from electrons to polyatomic molecules such as methane
  • Treatment of chemical reactions & ionization processes


The foundation of PICLas and its development is based on academic peer-review and good scientific practice. An excerpt from the publication list is given below in reversed chronological order: