Caleb Hopkins

University Of York

My background is an integrated Masters in Physics with Astrophysics completed at the University of York. I had chosen York for my undergraduate for its research into plasma physics and fusion energy, a topic I had been passionate about for a long time. This led to me completing my Master’s thesis studying a so-called traffic-jam hydrodynamic instability occurring in plasmas, and then to applying for a PhD project with the Fusion CDT.  For my project, I will be working on microwave current drive and heating in MAST-U.

Microwave heating of a tokamak plasma has the advantage of being able to position the sensitive components far away from the reactor, preventing damage due to neutron bombardment. They can also be used to drive current in the plasma for the generation of the poloidal magnetic field, removing the need for a large central column.

MAST-U has recently been equipped with gyrotrons capable of producing microwaves that could be used to heat and drive a current in the plasma. My project will revolve around designing experiments to determine the best way to implement these gyrotrons to achieve this, by comparing the results of multiple models to diagnostic data from MAST-U.