Post-Doctoral position: Modelling of liquid-metal plasma interactions in linear plasma devices and validation with tokamak divertors.

DIFFER (Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) is one of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) institutes and focuses on a multidisciplinary approach of the energy research combining physics, chemistry, engineering and materials science. The institute is based on two main strands, solar fuels for the conversion and storage of renewable energy and fusion-energy as clean and unlimited source of energy. DIFFER is developing and supporting a national network on fundamental energy research and is closely collaborating with academic institutions, research institutes and industry.

Post-Doctoral position: Modelling of liquid-metal plasma interactions in linear plasma devices and validation with tokamak divertors.

Scientific aim:

This position is part of the strategic programme "Taming the Flame", which aims to enhance our understanding of the physics of power exhaust of tokamak fusion reactors, and to develop advanced control strategies for high-performance, low wall load operation.

Recent developments have opened a new path to power exhaust: to use a liquid metal (lithium) based wall which strongly evaporates, forming a vapour cloud in front of the wall which cools and redirects the heat, ultimately preventing any damage.

To achieve this requires the prevention of excess vapour from reaching the core of the plasma, which would reduce the power output. This can be achieved by dividing the divertor into a series of differentially pumped chambers allowing re-condensation of the vapour on the wall surfaces, known as a Vapour Box Divertor. To develop this technology requires modelling understanding of the processes involved, enabling eventual extrapolation to reactor-class devices.



Magnum-PSI is the only device that can currently study plasma-wall interactions under plasma and neutral conditions matching those expected in the ITER and DEMO divertors. This is not only important for testing divertor materials, but also for understanding and reliably extrapolating to the basic plasma processes in future fusion devices such as ITER. However, due to the fundamentally different magnetic configurations, plasma conditions in reactor divertors cannot be derived from Magnum-PSI experiments alone. This demands validated modelling of both Magnum-PSI and tokamak divertors with similar tools. A standard tool in the community is the SOLPS-ITER code suite existing of the B2.5 edge plasma code and the EIRENE neutral particle Monte Carlo code, which will be used for the modelling of both Magnum-PSI and tokamak divertors. This project aims, in particular, to update and extend the code suite with models allowing the simulation of plasma in contact with liquid metal targets, particularly during vapour-shielding conditions, and to benchmark these against experiments which will investigate this in Magnum-PSI.

Responsibilities and tasks: 
  • To implement the necessary adaptations in the EIRENE code to allow the modelling of liquid metal targets.
  • To benchmark SOLPS-ITER modelling with liquid metal targets against Magnum-PSI experiments.
  • To use the code-suite to make predictions of liquid-metal target behaviour under divertor plasma conditions.
  • To collaborate with the international EIRENE development team on the refactoring of the code.
  • We seek enthusiastic and highly talented candidates who are willing to work in an international and interdisciplinary team of theoretical and experimental physicists.
  • You have (or very soon will have) a PhD in plasma physics or computational sciences.
  • You have good programming skills and experience in development of plasma edge modelling code, in particular, with the Monte Carlo modelling of neutral particles in a plasma environment.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills (in English) are mandatory.
Employment conditions: 

We offer a stimulating work environment in an area of fundamental research. You will have a temporary employment contract for the duration of 3 year. After one year a performance appraisal will be performed. The postdoc position is a scale 10 position (Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centers). The gross monthly salary is dependent on qualifications and experience. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of year bonus of 8.33%. The conditions of employment of NWO are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centers, more exclusive information is available at this website ( under Personnel.

Further information: 

The NWO Recruitment code applies to this position. At DIFFER we believe that a workforce diverse in gender, age and cultural background is key to performing excellent research. We therefore strongly encourage applications from women and minorities. In our institute physicists, chemists, engineers and other specialists work together in multidisciplinary teams to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society. DIFFER’s workforce is currently composed of ~160 scientists (of which 60 are guests and interns), supported by ~40 technicians and ~30 support staff members. The global nature of the energy challenge is apparent from the international representation of our employees, who originate from over 30 different countries. To strengthen our commitment to diversity, in January 2018 we formed a taskforce with the aim to design, implement, and monitor diversity and gender equality initiatives. NWO and DIFFER have number of regulations that support employees in finding a good work-life balance. Such as conditions for teleworking, partly paid parental leave and the possibility to purchase and sell holiday leave.

This position is a 3 year Postdoc position with a performance evaluation after one year. Further information on the vacancy is available through the leader of the fusion energy department, dr. E. Westerhof (+31 (0)40 3334 954), e-mail: E [368] Westerhof [28] differ [368] nl

Application procedure: 

In case you are interested you can apply by submitting an application letter, a full resume (including grade list). Please refer to vacancy 19.012 The letter of application may be sent electronically to:  vacancies [28] differ [368] nl

Closing date: 
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Vacacany number: 

Go to the Vacancies page.