Exploring spectral energy transfer in non-linear gyrokinetic simulations and experiment (plasma strand project)

Supervisors: Dr David Dickinson (University of York) & Dr István Cziegler (University of York).

Plasma turbulence acts to degrade the confinement of particles and energy in magnetic confinement devices, such as tokamaks. Worse confinement leads to the need for larger, more expensive, reactors reducing the efficiency and economic viability of fusion produced electricity. Plasma turbulence is also a fascinating area of physics, rich in interesting and complex behaviour. As such, there is significant research activity around the theoretical, computational and experimental study of plasma turbulence.

The primary computational tools for the study of plasma turbulence are non-linear gyrokinetic simulation codes. These allow a detailed investigation of the dynamics of the simulated plasma not typically directly measurable from experiment. Experimental turbulence diagnostics are challenging to design, operate and analyse but are vital in order to verify our simulations. In this project the student will develop analysis tools to explore the structure of spectral energy transfer in non-linear gyrokinetic simulations and use this to aid with the interpretation of existing turbulence diagnostics and inform future experimental efforts. A particular focus of this work will be to extend existing electrostatic tools to the more general electromagnetic case.

This project contributes to work carried out at York and within the Turbulent Dynamics of Tokamak Plasmas (TDoTP) collaboration (tdotp.ac.uk), providing the researcher an excellent opportunity to collaborate with experts in the field.

The researcher will have opportunities to learn fundamental plasma physics, with a focus on turbulent transport. They will develop computational and theoretical skills as well as gaining experience with experimental analysis. They will have opportunities to use a range of high performance computational tools on some of the largest computers in the world in order to enable their research.

The project will be mainly based in York but may also involve travel to support collaborations. There are also opportunities for travel to conferences.

This project is offered by University of York. For further information please contact: David Dickinson (d.dickinson@york.ac.uk) or István Cziegler (istvan.cziegler@york.ac.uk).

This project may be compatible with part time study, please contact the project supervisors if you are interested in exploring this.