Turbulence and confinement in advanced magnetic confinement fusion experiments

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics


The overarching aim of this project is to study turbulent transport of particles, momentum, and energy in magnetic confinement fusion (MCF) plasmas and to identify ways in which this transport can be reduced. It is this turbulent transport that limits the confinement and subsequent performance of MCF experiments. The particular focus of the project will be to study how the geometry of the confining magnetic fields and the energy of the netural beams used to heat the plasma influences the turbulence and vice versa. This will be carried out via a combination of analytic theory and high performance computing and will maintain close collaborative links with the JET experiment at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and a new flagship experiment JT60-SA in Japan.

This research is timely because JT60-SA experiments are just getting under way, and the physics explored by this device are critical for achieving success with ITER and future fusion reactors. In particular JT60-SA will employ 'negative ion neutral beams', which are high energy heating beams needed to penetrate into the core of ITER and other large, dense plasma experiments. Little to no modelling work has been done to understand the impact these beams will have on turbulent transport and thus on plasma profiles. The student will use a world-leading piece of computer software called Trinity to simulate the self-consistent response of the plasma to these novel beams. The results should inform JT60-SA and eventually ITER operation and may lead to novel ideas for turbulence reduction and improved confinement in MCF plasmas.

This project falls within EPSRC Plasma and Lasers research area and will be carried out in close collaboration with researchers at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.


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Giruzzi G (2020) Advances in the physics studies for the JT-60SA tokamak exploitation and research plan in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512333/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1947735 Studentship EP/R512333/1 01/10/2017 31/03/2021 Oliver Thomas Beeke
Description I have used simulations to demonstrate computationally a novel result that vertically stretching the plasma volume can worsen the turbulent transport of heat in the presence of steep pressure gradients.
Exploitation Route Experimentalists at various machines (capable of reaching high-performance scenarios) could try to experimentally verify our predictions for the effect of plasma elongation on confinement.
Sectors Energy