An important challenge that must be addressed in order to make MCF commercially viable is that of power handling. Future high power fusion devices will need to have very good energy confinement to be efficient, but good energy confinement also leads to extremely high heat loads on heat exhaust surfaces called the ‘divertor targets’. A crucial though incompletely understood process is that of ‘detachment’, in which radiative losses and transport across the magnetic field cause the plasma to cool so strongly that ions and electrons recombine into neutrals near the divertor target. This dramatically reduces the heat loads on the surface, but needs to be better understood and controlled if it is to be used in future devices.
My project title is ‘Taming the flame – Understanding how plasma transport, turbulence and atomic physics will lead to a viable heat exhaust process’. I will be based in York for the most part of this project, where Dr Ben Dudson will be my primary supervisor and Prof Bruce Lipschultz will be my secondary supervisor. I will spend at least a year at CCFE, where I will be supervised by Dr James Harrison and Dr David Moulton.
In this project I will be using high performance plasma simulation codes to study the effect of divertor geometry on divertor conditions, in particular detachment. The simulations will be used to better understand the underlying processes and to make hypotheses which can be tested experimentally, with the aim of improving our understanding of detachment.