Supervisor: B.F. McMillan, CFSA, Department of Physics, University of Warwick.
The background fields in tokamak reactors provide excellent confinement of plasmas at extreme temperatures, but by perturbing the shape of these fields, and inducing electric field structures, the plasma can still find a way to escape. Ultimately, it is these instabilities that limit the performance of tokamak reactor plasmas: we need to understand them so we can design reactors that ‘ignite’ and are able to produce sustained useful net-positive energy output.
The MAST-U tokamak is able to examine the challenges that will arise in a true burning plasma (like the STEP tokamak), where high energy fusion products and high plasma pressure mean that the nature of electromagnetic turbulence is quite different to existing laboratory devices. This studentship will tackle that project using a mix of numerical simulation and basic theory.
This project forms part of an exciting UK-wide collaboration, with partner universities Oxford, Strathclyde and York, and CCFE Culham (where the UK’s largest fusion experiment, JET, is sited, as well as the new MAST-U tokamak).
The student will be responsible for simulating and analysing the coupling of global-scale electromagnetic turbulence with ion-scale instabilities, in the context of reactor plasmas with high pressures and significant fast particle content. This will involve a range of computational tools and theories from across plasma science; similar problems arise in space and astrophysics contexts.
In practice this will involve running and interpret high-performance computing codes on world-class supercomputers, as well as understanding and exploring the basic plasma theory that underpins tokamak turbulence.
For further information including how to apply, please see our postgraduate webpage: Postgraduate - Department of Physics (warwick.ac.uk)