Robert Kerr

University Of Oxford

While I was working towards my A-Levels I had an inspirational visit to the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy on an open day. I later completed a year in industry there during my undergraduate study where I worked on implementing the parareal algorithm into SOLPS simulations of MAST-U plasmas. I went on to do a Master’s project in the School of Physics at the University of Bristol. The project focused on a surface treatment called SMAT and its effect on the microstructure, micromechanical properties and radiation resistance of nuclear steels.

I am now undertaking a project in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof David Armstrong and Prof Sergio Lozano-Perez. The project involves the characterisation of deposition layers from recent experiments in the JET tokamak. The plasma facing materials are subjected to severe conditions such as high steady state temperatures, high levels of radiation damage and sputtering erosion. I’m expecting to use techniques which include nanoindentation and transmission electron microscopy to investigate the deformation mechanisms that are occurring in these materials and their implications for plasma-wall interactions in ITER.