Superconducting magnets are employed in a broad range of applications including medical scanners (MRI), NMR spectrometers, magnetic separators and high-efficiency generators. Superconducting flux pumps are a class of devices which enable electrical current to be injected into a superconducting magnet coil without requiring direct electrical connection to an externally located power supply. As these devices operate within an entirely superconducting circuit they can be operated at very large currents – far larger than can feasibly be injected through normal-conducting copper current leads.
We have recently developed and patented a novel type of flux pump  based upon high temperature superconducting (HTS) wire. This device generates a net DC voltage across the superconducting stator wire, thus driving current around a superconducting coil and exciting a large magnetic field. The underlying vortex physics which give rise to this effect remains unclear at the present time, and is a topic of intense study.
This project will investigate the underlying physics of this device and pursue the development of a prototype flux pump which can enable currents of >1 kA to be pumped within an HTS magnet coil. This project is likely to involve both experimental work upon cryogenic devices and enclosures, as well as finite element electromagnetic modelling of flux distribution and dynamics within the flux pump.
For more information about this project, email [email protected]
Keywords: Superconductivity, superconductor, flux vortex, physics, cryogenic engineering, HTS, YBCO.
We are seeking a PhD candidate with an excellent academic record, strong practical and written skills, highly self-motivated and with an aptitude to learn a broad range new skills outside their existing discipline.
Applicants should hold an undergraduate degree (first or upper second-class), or an MSc/ME in Physics or Engineering. Applicants will need to meet all requirements for enrolment in the PhD programme at Victoria University of Wellington.
The successful applicant will receive a PhD project scholarship comprising an annual stipend of NZ$25,000 p.a. for 3 years as well as payment of university fees.