Turbulence diagnosis using the Synthetic Aperture Microwave Imager (SAMI) (Plasma strand project)

Supervisor/s – Roddy Vann and David Dickinson (University of York)

Turbulence is the chaotic motion of fluids observed across nature – and particularly in tokamak plasmas. Indeed, turbulence is the dominant mechanism for the loss of heat from tokamaks. Understanding turbulence is critical to successful operation of a tokamak reactor. This PhD project is about using microwaves to understand turbulence in the plasma edge.

Microwaves are the part of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths approximately ranging from a few centimetres to a millimetre. Microwaves find a range of applications in tokamaks including diagnostics and, at high power, heating and driving current.

Injected microwaves at sufficiently low frequency bounce off the plasma edge at a density related to the wave frequency. It is proposed that comparing the polarisation of the back-scattered microwaves to the polarisation of the injected beam can be used to determine the extent to which the scattering turbulence is electromagnetic or electrostatic – thereby discriminating between two different models for edge turbulence. This PhD project will use existing high performance computing codes to study the feasibility of this approach; the computational models will then be validated with experiment by using the Synthetic Aperture Microwave Imaging (SAMI) diagnostic at MAST-U.

This project will develop a range of both computational and experimental skills, including data analysis. Technically it will provide expertise in both plasma turbulence and microwave physics.

The project will be primarily based in York with visits to the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy as necessary for engagement with MAST-U experimental campaigns.

This project is offered by The University of York. For further information please contact: Roddy Vann (roddy.vann@york.ac.uk)

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