My name is Gregory Smith and I completed a Master of Physics undergraduate degree at the University of York in 2016. Now I am part of the fusion CDT programme based in York.
My work, as part of the CDT programme, is researching and developing new ways of extracting ions from a plasma using innovative designs of ion sources which may have applications in both electrical propulsion for satellites, and neutral beam injection necessary for next generation magnetic confinement fusion devices.
Electrical propulsion is a profitable business due to the increasing use of satellites by companies and governments around the world. This means new designs that increase overall performance are in high demand.
Neutral beam injection is an important aspect for magnetic confinement fusion, functioning as a key method of heating a fusion plasma. Current methods to create the neutral beams utilise caesium which helps to increase the density of the ions extracted from the ion source. However, it also increases the physical and engineering challenges in designing, building and operating these devices. This means alternative methods of achieving the necessary ion densities without the use of caesium are highly desirable.
My supervisors for this project are Prof. Timo Gans and Dr. James Dedrick.