Institute for Plasma Science, Technology and Fusion Energy

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Physics


The Plasma Physics and Fusion Group in the Physics Department at the University of York has an international reputation for its research into fusion energy and laser-plasma interactions/high energy density physics. We propose to expand this activity (with three new academic appointments) to include technological applications of plasmas, which will bring both scientific and strategic benefits. Scientifically, we will be well-placed to exploit the synergies between our existing research activities and technological plasmas. Strategically, technological plasmas are of direct interest to industry so the proposed expansion provides a closer relationship with a range of industrial partners, benefiting the new research activity and helping industry engage with the multi-billion pound international fusion programme. A strength of our proposal is that the three research activities (laser-plasma interactions, fusion energy and technological plasmas) will be integrated into a single Institute for Plasma Science, Technology and Fusion, in a purpose-designed institute, to create a flagship centre for plasma research, training and exploitation in the UK.The creation of the Institute is particularly timely as it coincides with a 500M expansion of the University's activities. This expansion provides an innovative infrastructure that enables companies and other external organisations to co-locate alongside University Departments to ensure maximum impact from teaching and research, as well as providing new opportunities for identifying commercially relevant projects and collaborative funding opportunities.


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Description This grant has successfully established a world-class environment for plasma science in the UK, bringing together low temperature plasmas, laser-plasma interactions and magnetic confinement fusion. We have won major research grants from a number of funders, as well as an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training. Our research has expanded into a wide range of plasma fields from low temperature plasmas for biomedical and technological applications (including advanced manufacturing), through high energy density physics for fusion energy, QED plasmas and laboratory astrophysics, to magnetic confinement fusion. We work with industry in all areas, and continue to seek to grow our portfolio of industry partners to ensure high impact.
Exploitation Route Bringing together world-class critical mass under one roof, together with state of the art equipment, creates huge potential for research and training. Our growing network of academic and industrial partners provides strong pathways to impact.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy

Description Our fundamental research into low temperature plasma research has had an impact in sectors such as biomedicine (eg potential plasma cures) and advanced manufacturing (eg semiconductor industry, packaging, chemicals, etc). Our laser-plasma research has explored the fundamental properties of high energy density physics; laboratory astrophysics, and manufacturing processes. This has had an impact on a number of sectors, including energy, advanced manufacturing and national security. Our magnetic confinement fusion research focuses on fusion energy, including translation of techniques to other areas (eg medical imaging, with the recent award of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant by Technology Strategy Board). A second KTP completed earlier in 2014.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description AWE 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Experiments in high energy density physics and laboratory astrophysics, exploiting the Orion Laser Facility. Related theory and modelling.
Collaborator Contribution Funding for PhD students; support to access Orion laser; research collaborations.
Impact Publications and conference presentations
Start Year 2010
Description Akzo Nobel 
Organisation AkzoNobel
Department AkzoNobel UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution A position paper on recent advances in atmospheric pressure plasma technology for surface treatment and coating
Collaborator Contribution Description of current state of the art in marine coatings technology.
Impact A position paper (confidential to Akzo Nobel)
Start Year 2014
Description BARC 
Organisation Bhabbha Atomic Research Centre
Country India 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We have provided computational modelling support and expertise for analysing and intepreting experimental results obtained at BARC.
Collaborator Contribution BARC have performed the experiments that we worked on analysing and modelling. They have used their facilities, man-power and diagnostic capabilities and expertise to obtain the results that we worked with.
Impact Publications in refereed journals
Start Year 2010
Description Bordeaux 
Organisation University of Bordeaux
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr John Pasley was part of a team working to identify scientific priorities for very large French laser facilities LMJ and PETAL. Involved in planning experiments for ILE Osaka and LULI, and assisted in the interpretation of experimental result
Collaborator Contribution The University of Bordeaux hosted Dr John Pasley (host was Prof. Dimitri Batani) and provided the environment for him to be involved in the above activities
Impact This is a relatively new collaboration principally focused on large experiments that will be conducted in 2015/16 onwards, therefore there are no outputs at present (as of Nov 2014)
Start Year 2013
Description CCFE 
Organisation European Atomic Energy Commission (EURATOM)
Country Belgium 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution York Plasma Institute (YPI) staff and CCFE have enjoyed a strong and productive partnership in the field of fusion energy. The collaboration spans research and industrial engagement. On the research side, we work with CCFE performing collaborative experiments on the MAST and JET tokamaks, as well as a strong, collaborative theory and modelling programme. Much of the research is in support of ITER. We have also worked with them on neutronics studies for inertial and magnetic fusion power plants. Our YPI Industry Manager works with the industry team at CCFE to help industry benefit from the international fusion programme, especially ITER. A large number of fusion PhD students are co-supervised between CCFE and YPI.
Collaborator Contribution CCFE have made strong financial contributions to our programme, which have included several ICASE PhD studentships (typically 2 per year); salary contributions for staff (eg the YPI Industry Manager), and contracts with academic staff. The estimate I have given is over the 3 years of YPI, but it is very approximate. Contributions in kind are huge, and include: access and time on the MAST tokamak facility; helping us to access JET for experiments; support for accessing European fusion programme funding via EURATOM; co-supervision of PhD students; hosting MSc student projects, etc. The value is extremely difficult to estimate. There are of course also strong contributions to our collaborative research programme, including exhaust physics; plasma stability, and heating and current drive
Impact There are very many joint publications and conference presentations in the area of fusion plasmas. Details are provided in the relevant sections
Start Year 2006
Description CRPP 
Organisation Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Experimental research on tokamak exhaust physics. We jointly bid for EUROfusion funding, and carried out a project to validate our respective turbulence simulation codes
Collaborator Contribution On the experimental research, CRPP are hosting one of our PhD students and providing him with access to the TCV tokamak for experiments on exhaust physics. They have also provided top-up funding for his stipend CRPP share many of our interests in developing state-of-the art simulations of tokamak edge turbulence, in order to understand current experiments and predict future experiments. During this year they have provided expertise in a validation technique (MMS), and hosted coordination meetings
Impact A publication is in preparation. A second joint proposal for EUROFusion has been prepared.
Start Year 2014
Description CSU 
Organisation Colorado State University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Trial ablation experiments with EUV lasers have been undertaken at CSU, motivated by simulations performed by YPI researchers.
Collaborator Contribution Access to facilities and expertise to enable the collaborative experiments
Impact The results provided the basis of EPSRC and NSF (US) grant applications, currently under consideration.
Start Year 2012
Description General Atomics 
Organisation General Atomics
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Research has mainly focused on stability and confinement of fusion plasmas. They have hosted two of our PhD students and one PDRA for extended periods, one working on theory and modelling and two on experiments from the DIII-D tokamak which they operate. Two academic staff have also made extended research visits in the last two years.
Collaborator Contribution They have provided access to DIII-D data and supported our PDRA staff and PhD students while they visited. They provided expert knowledge on accessing and interpreting DIII-D plasma data, as well as the specifics of the ELITE code, that complements our own expertise.
Impact A major output is the ELITE code, which is an internationally known scientific research code for predictling the stability of tokamak plasmas that has been developed over an extended period in an extremely fruitful collaboration. This collaboration was recognised and the achievements arising from the ELITE project was recognised in 2013 by the American Physical Society's "John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics", given to the YPI-GA collaborative team. There are very many publications and high profile outputs. Most recently, one of the collaborative papers won the prize for best paper in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) journal "Nuclear Fusion" (2012)
Start Year 2006
Description ILE Osaka 
Organisation Osaka University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Participated in a series of experiments on the large laser facility at ILE Osaka since 2009. Also involved in data interpretation and the writing of publications related to these experiments
Collaborator Contribution ILE provided the experimental facility, manpower and diagnostics to conduct these experiments.
Impact Journal publications
Start Year 2009
Description LLNL 
Organisation Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Participated in experiments at the Jupiter Laser Facility and assisted in the interpretation, analysis and preparation of publications resulting from these experiments. Collaborative experiments and theory in support of the NIF programme, especially high energy density physics. Collaboration on theory an modelling of magnetic fusion plasmas, developing the BOUT++ code.
Collaborator Contribution Support for laser facility access and provision of experimental and simulation data. Complementary expertise required to develop the BOUT++ code
Impact Several publications and conference presentations. The BOUT++ code is now open source and used world-wide by the fusion community
Start Year 2011
Description NFRI 
Organisation National Fusion Research Institute
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experiments on the KSTAR tokamak on a particular type of plasma instability. A PhD student was hosted in Daejeon for an extended period Howard Wilson served on the KSTAR Programme Advisory Committee.
Collaborator Contribution Hosted a PhD student and provided access to the KSTAR tokamak, and support in data analysis
Impact In preparation
Start Year 2012
Description RAL 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution York have contributed to many experimental campaigns on laboratory astrophysics and high energy density physics at the Central Laser Facility, including a PhD student based at RAL. Other collaborations include the HiPER project.
Collaborator Contribution Support for experiments on the facilities, as well as scientific collaborations providing complementary expertise. Financial support for students. Co-supervision of PhD students as well as MSc student placements for projects. Financial contribution to staff salaries and student stipends is an estimate.
Impact Publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings.
Start Year 2006
Description TIFR 
Organisation Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Country India 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Dr John Pasley and his research students have collaborated with TIFR on a number of research projects since 2009. This has resulted in a number of high profile publications. Our contributions have included both participation in experiments, assistance with diagnostic development, analysis of experimental results as well as interpretation and modelling.
Collaborator Contribution TIFR have hosted us at their laser facility, providing the bulk of the man-power and expertise. They have also participated in joint experiments at the STFC RAL Central Laser Facility with us, where they provided man-power and diagnostic expertise and equipment.
Impact A number of high profile publications in refereed journals
Start Year 2009