The effect of neutrals on edge turbulence in magnetic confinement fusion devices – plasma strand project

Supervisor: C.P. Ridgers (Main supervisor – University of York) & Q. Xia (Collaborator – Culham Centre for Fusion Energy) & Ben Dudson (Collaborator – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory).

Plasmas are naturally turbulent systems and those found in magnetic confinement fusion devices are no exception to this. Turbulence can be both deleterious (by degrading confinement of the plasma) or advantageous (by spreading out the heat flux at the edge of the device) and is extremely difficult to predict. This project will focus on modelling edge turbulence in the recently upgraded MAST-U tokamak at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). One major goal of MAST-U is to investigate solutions to the problem of excessive heat flux at the edge of an MCF device. MCF devices contain hot plasma at ~100 million degrees and so produce a large amount of heat energy. If this impinges on the walls of the device it can cause serious damage. Determining how to mitigate this heat loading is a major international area of research as we move towards power-plant scale machines. One method is to divert the plasma using the magnetic field onto specially armoured plates (the so-called ‘divertor’). MAST-U’s super-X divertor is a new configuration designed for maximum dilution of the heat load. Turbulence dominates plasma transport perpendicular to the field lines and sets the width of the heat flux ‘strike point’ on the divertor plates. In the divertor, the plasma flow loses energy and momentum to the neutral particles. The interaction of these neutrals with the turbulence is poorly understood. You will use the newly developed hermes-3 code (with its advanced fluid neutral model) to investigate this. This project is primarily simulation-based and will give you valuable skills in high-performance computing and code development.

The project will primarily be based at York. The project is in close collaboration with staff at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. So it will also give you teamworking skills and experience working in both academic and laboratory environments. There will be many opportunities to present the work at international conferences.

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

This project is offered by University of York. For further information please contact Christopher Ridgers (