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  Active region wave-based coronal heating (Advert Reference: FAC-RERS-20/EE/MPEE/ANTOLIN)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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  Dr Patrick Antolin  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The corona, the most external layer of the solar atmosphere, is composed of coronal loops – magnetic field structures filled with ionised plasma at multi-million-degree temperatures on average. How these structures are heated constitutes a major astrophysical problem.

Coronal loops are permeated by magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves that can transport large amounts of energy. Wave-based heating mechanisms constitute therefore a major candidate to heat the corona. However, most, if not all, wave-based heating theories have only been successful in generating a “Quiet” corona. On the other hand, active regions, the most energy-demanding regions in the Sun, are thought to be mostly heated through magnetic reconnection, a fundamental mechanism of plasmas.

Recent observational and numerical results indicate that MHD waves can generate dynamic instabilities through which enhanced dissipation can be achieved, paving the way to a potential role in active region heating. Through this process magnetic reconnection can play a major role, thereby introducing a new paradigm in which waves and reconnection combine to efficiently heat the corona.

This project builds on the momentum gained through this recent development in wave research and aims at exploring this dual wave + reconnection scenario as a solution to coronal heating. The project includes numerical and observational parts. On the numerical side an advanced MHD code will be used that is able to properly capture wave and reconnection processes. On the observational side datasets from the state-of-the-art SDO and IRIS missions will be analysed to look for telltale signatures of the proposed heating mechanism, thereby constraining the theory.

We are primarily looking for applicants with a degree in Mathematics, Physics or Astrophysics. Previous experience of numerical modelling, observational data analysis and computer programming is desirable but not essential.

The principal supervisor for this project is Dr Patrick Antolin. The second supervisor will be Professor James McLaughlin.

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. FAC-RERS-20/EE/MPEE/ANTOLIN) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020

Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU/Worldwide students where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


P. Antolin and T. Van Doorsselaere, ‘Influence of Resonant Absorption on the Generation of the Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability’, Frontiers in Physics, 7, 85, (2019)

P. Antolin, ‘Observational signatures of chromospheric and coronal heating by transverse MHD waves’, Chapter 6.2 in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, Volume 71, Issue 5, id.R1, as part of the Review “Achievements of Hinode for the First Eleven Years” (2019)

P. Antolin, D. Schmit, T. M. D. Pereira, B. De Pontieu, I. De Moortel, ‘Transverse Wave Induced Kelvin-Helmholtz Rolls in Spicules’, The Astrophysical Journal, 856, 44 (2018)

P. Antolin, I. De Moortel, T. Van Doorsselaere, T. Yokoyama, ‘Observational Signatures of Transverse MHD Waves and Associated Dynamic Instabilities’, The Astrophysical Journal, 836, 219 (2017)

P. Antolin, T. J. Okamoto, B. De Pontieu, H. Uitenbroek, T. Van Doorsselaere, T. Yokoyama, ‘Resonant Absorption of Transverse Oscillations and Associated Heating in a Solar Prominence. II. Numerical Aspects’, The Astrophysical Journal, 809, 72 (2015)

T. J. Okamoto, P. Antolin, B. De Pontieu, H. Uitenbroek, T. Van Doorsselaere, T. Yokoyama, ‘Resonant Absorption of Transverse Oscillations and Associated Heating in a Solar Prominence. I. Observational Aspects’, The Astrophysical Journal, 809, 71 (2015)

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