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Interpretation of ion cyclotron emission from large fusion plasmas


Project Description

Ion cyclotron emission (ICE) is an intense suprathermal electromagnetic signal which is generated, distinctively, by fusion-born ion populations in magnetically confined plasmas. Understanding the physics of fusion-born ions, notably the 3.5 MeV alpha-particles that are produced in deuterium-tritium plasmas, is crucial if these ions are to be exploited to sustain the thermonuclear burn. ICE provides unique insights into this – always provided that the physics underlying ICE is well understood. This presents an intellectual challenge which is underpinned by the interplay of three fundamental characteristics of plasma physics: the signature Alfven wave; the gyromotion of fusion-born ions in the confining magnetic field; and the collective effects that arise from the long-range nature of the Maxwell-Lorentz system of equations.

This project will involve a mix of state-of-art high performance computation (HPC), using the widely adopted EPOCH kinetic code, analytical theory, and determining the linkages between simulation outputs and current fusion plasma data. The PhD student will be based at the UKAEA fusion research centre at CCFE Culham, near Oxford, from the second year onwards. Joint supervision will be by Professors Sandra Chapman and Richard Dendy, who have an extensive track record in this area. There is a team-based working environment at CCFE, with several Warwick/CCFE alumni within the “home team” for the ICE topic.

CFSA has a long history of several dozen successful joint PhD studentships with CCFE. The timing of this PhD project is optimal in relation to:
-Imminent unique deuterium-tritium experiments in JET ("DTE2") at Culham
-The current high level of interest in ICE at major fusion facilities worldwide
-The CFSA-CCFE team’s role as a partner in international experiments on ICE. In 2019 we have already published in the IAEA journal Nuclear Fusion with the flagship facilities in Germany (Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics), Japan (National Institute for Fusion Science) and Korea (National Fusion Research Institute). We are partners in an invited paper with the US team from General Atomics at this autumn’s American Physical Society conference.

We welcome informal enquiries to and and encourage full applications through the Warwick Graduate School website.

Funding Notes

The student will be based primarily at CFSA, with short-duration working visits to fusion laboratories worldwide and close collaboration with CCFE. 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 View Website for further 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

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