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Fast ions and turbulence in fusion plasmas

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics, University of Warwick

Research at Warwick University’s Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics (CFSA) focuses on plasma physics applied to the grand challenges of fusion energy, space physics, solar physics, and astrophysics. Our work spans fundamental theory, observation, and the analysis of experimental data, combined with high performance computing. For more details of the CFSA see

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 better reactors, and run existing experiments better.

The MAST-U tokamak in particular will be able to examine the challenges that will arise in a true burning plasma, 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), to understand the role of plasma turbulence across a range of length scales and thereby design more efficient tokamak reactors. The successful candidate will have an opportunity to work with researchers from these universities across the UK.

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.

In practice this will involve running and interpret high-performance computing codes on world-class supercomputers, as well as understand and explore the basic plasma theory that underpins tokamak turbulence.

Funding Notes

Enquiries and applications from interested students are welcome, with detailed information about the studentship scheme to follow. Candidates should hold or expect to hold a 1st (or high 2.1) in Physics or related subject area. See for more details.

The Physics department is proud to be an IOP Juno Champion and a winner of an Athena Swan Silver Award, reflecting our commitment to equal opportunity and to fostering an environment in which all can excel.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Warwick in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 54.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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