Numerical investigation of plasma turbulence and filaments dynamics in three-dimensional tokamak geometries (plasma strand project)

Supervisor/s: Ben Dudson (University of York) and Fabio Riva (CCFE)

The ultimate aim of tokamak research is to design and build a device which can generate significant net power through fusion reactions. For a power plant based on D-T fusion, approximately 1/5th of this power will come out of the plasma in the form of hot particles or light. At the edge of the plasma heat leaves the confined plasma core, and must be handled on the walls of the tokamak. This project focusses on using simulations to understand how heat and particles flow along complex magnetic field structures, and spread due to turbulence and other processes. This understanding will help inform the design of future tokamak power plants, which must handle high heat loads for long periods of time.

You will be based in York for the first 6 months of the project, to take courses on plasma physics and computational methods. After that you will be based at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) near Oxford. There you will learn to run the 3D STORM simulation code, and perform simulations of tokamak plasmas. You will use these to study how changes to the magnetic field near the edge of the plasma, in particular “advanced” designs such as Super-X and Snowflake configurations, affect the turbulence and so heat spreading. One of the major aims of the new MAST-Upgrade experiment at Culham is to study the properties and performance of the plasma edge in these advanced configurations. This will provide opportunties for collaborations with staff and other students working on experiments towards understanding these configurations and plasma phenomena.

This project will be mainly based at CCFE near Oxford, but will likely involve overseas travel for conferences or collaborations.

The student will learn how to use high performance computing tools as part of a scientific investigation, combined with experimental data analysis and analytic estimation. As part of this work it is likely that the student will need to modify simulation and analysis codes, building their programming and collaborative code development skills.

This project is offered by University of York. For further information please contact:

Ben Dudson (benjamin.dudson@york.ac.uk)