PhD and MSc opportunities
Depending on resources, we aim every year to have new PhD and MSc projects with several UK universities addressing plasma physics, materials science and fusion engineering associated with tokamaks, providing a range of exciting research opportunities.
The projects range from the theoretical, through computational modelling, to experimental studies. Most students are based at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, while some are based at their university. All have both a Culham and a university supervisor.
Typically starting each October, we run a broad range of PhD and MSc projects with about eight different university departments. Please check this page for updates on opportunities.
Fusion PhD opportunities
University of Oxford
Doctoral opportunity in Theoretical Plasma Physics: Collisional solutions for the plasma in the boundary layer of fusion devices
Application deadline: 24 January 2014
Fusion energy promises clean and virtually inexhaustible energy, but it is difficult to achieve because fusion reactions require temperatures of the order of 200 million degrees. At this temperature, the fuel is an ionized gas, also known as plasma. The extremely hot plasmas needed for fusion are confined using strong magnetic fields in tokamaks and stellarators. By design, these configurations have a large number of magnetic field lines that do not get in contact the walls because the plasma cannot move across magnetic field lines, but can easily scape along them. Near the walls, however, magnetic field lines impinge on the surface of the vacuum vessel, and the plasma can run into the wall. Current experiments control the plasma-wall interaction by setting the strike point of the open field lines in a region of the chamber, known as divertor, specially designed to deal with large heat loads.
The purpose of this DPhil project is to find analytical or semi-analytical steady state solutions for the plasma in the open field line region, known as Scrape Off Layer (SOL). To find these steady state solutions, the DPhil student must consider the charged particle orbits, determined by the self-consistent electromagnetic fields, and the collisions between different charged particles. The DPhil student will focus in particular on the population of energetic electrons that can overcome the large potential barrier established by the electrons already absorbed by the wall. These energetic electrons can be important to determine the electric field at the wall.
The results of this DPhil will be useful to understand future exciting experiments with the Super-X Divertor in MAST, the spherical tokamak at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. These results will also help develop models for the energetic electrons that can be used in codes that try to model turbulent transport in the Scrape Off Layer plasma around the core of tokamaks and stellarators.
This DPhil will be done in collaboration with Dr. Fulvio Militello of CCFE. For more information on the project and how to apply, go to http://www-thphys.physics.ox.ac.uk/people/JamesBinney/graduates.shtml.
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