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Diamond-based radiation sensor array for real-time mapping/location of Tritium in a nuclear fusion reactor gas system

Project Description

Fusion nuclear energy is posed to be the future of energy generation as a clean and compact energy source. Working towards that end there are a number of projects already in place developing the knowhow towards the technical realisation of a future commercial nuclear fusion reactors. Among these are JET, CCFE, ITER and STEP. An integral part of the nuclear fusion process is the processing, separation and storage of the fusion reactor gasses composed of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium. The UK is spearheading the technology of fusion reactor gas management through the funding of the H3AT Tritium handling facility. This £40M project will be the testing ground for the processes to be used in the ITER fusion reactor project in the mid-2020s. Even though the UK already has expertise in Tritium handling built up over many years of operating JET Tokamak at UKAEA Culham, there is no technology at present that can be used to monitor the presence of Tritium in the different parts of the gas handling and delivery network.

The Project

This project proposes the development of a diamond-based radiation detector with an enhanced sensitivity for Tritium beta decay radiation, which would be deployed in a series of arrays along a gas pipe system. The integration of the data from these detector arrays with other existing detectors would be able to provide a real-time mapping of the tritium beta radiation and the concentration of Tritium. This detector would be based on the diamond-based radiation detector developed at the University of Bristol that has been deployed in a number of nuclear sites in the UK and Japan.

The successful candidate will spend approximately 50% of their time based at the University of Bristol where they will be trained to perform isotopic diamond synthesis, characterisation, device simulation and fabrication, while the remaining 50% will be spent at UKAEA Culham, in the Tritium Engineering and Science Group, where they will be trained to use active handling facilities for use in the evaluation of diamond tritium detectors, and to test different deployment strategies.

How to Apply

Please make an online application for this project at Please select Physics PhD on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of this specific project in the ‘Research Details’ section of the form.

Anticipated start date: September 2019

Candidate Requirements

A first degree in physics or a related subject, normally at a level equivalent to at least UK upper second-class honours, or a relevant postgraduate master's qualification.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Funding Notes

Funding UK/EU: UK and EU students who meet the eligibility requirements will be considered for an EPSRC DTP studentship. Funding will cover UK/EU tuition fees, maintenance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£14,777 per annum, 2018/19 rate) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum for a period up to 3.5 years.

Eligibility includes, but is not limited to, being a UK or EU national who was resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Funding overseas: Overseas students are also welcome to apply for a limited number of School of Physics studentships. These will be fully funded studentships to outstanding overseas candidates.

Self-funded: We welcome all-year-round applications from self-funded students and students seeking their own funding from external sources.

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