I completed my MSci in Physics With a Year Abroad at Imperial College London in 2020 and have long been interested in nuclear fusion. My desire to pursue an academic career in the field only solidified after I wrote my master’s thesis on the topic of magnetohydrodynamic instabilities in tokamaks. I will be starting a PhD project at the York Plasma Institute entitled “Exotic Plasma Instabilities in Strongly Rotating Tokamak Plasma” and supervised by Howard Wilson (University of York) and Jonathan Graves (EPFL, Lausanne).
Neutral beam injection, commonly used for heating tokamak plasmas, imparts momentum to the plasma. In this way it can drive significant plasma rotation in tokamaks like MAST-U, at which point centrifugal and Coriolis effects become important. These can affect the behavior of plasma instabilities and even introduce new ones. Because future tokamaks like STEP and ITER will experience very little rotational flow it is important to study now how it can impact plasma dynamics and stability.
My project will focus on studying rotation-driven Kelvin Helmholtz-like instabilities using a combination of analytical methods and computational modelling. In particular, the goal is to identify the conditions for which these instabilities occur and develop a computational model which may be extended to future tokamaks.