This PhD position is funded and part of the Shell/NOW Computational Science for Energy Research (CSER) program. The project aims at accurate Monte Carlo modelling of the electrons in a non-equilibrium plasma environment. The work is performed in synergy with the DIFFER experiments to store and convert sustainable energy by recycling CO2 into solar fuels.
This PhD project involves the modelling of so-called plasma detachment in tokamak divertors and in linear devices like MAGNUM-PSI used to simulate tokamak divertor conditions. The detached plasma state is characterized by a strong reduction of heat and particle loads to the divertor targets as a consequence of radiation losses and plasma-neutral friction. The modelling will be performed with the code suites SOLPS-ITER and B2.5-EUNOMIA. The latter is specifically designed to model both high-density linear plasma devices and tokamak divertors.
A key challenge in the development of fusion power plants is figuring out how to exhaust the gigawatts of liberated fusion power from the machine without damaging the walls surrounding the plasma. A significant fraction of this power (hundreds of megawatts) will be transported via a thin layer of unconfined plasma wrapping the hot fusion core (the scrape-off layer or SOL) towards a part of the wall called the divertor. The SOL plasma needs to be strongly cooled to reach the low temperatures (< 5 eV) necessary for keeping the divertor wall load below the material limit.
In the group Catalysis and Electrochemical Processes for Energy Applications is a PhD position available for the development and evaluation of an innovative electrochemical device based on a proton conducting solid oxide electrolyte cells (SOEC). Utilization of SOEC for electro-fuel production from CO2 and H2O is a very promising route towards renewable energy storage.
The PhD project involves physics of magnetically confined plasma for fusion energy, and control theory. In a magnetic confinement fusion reactor it may prove desirable to operate at the minimum power that allows for so-called H-mode energy confinement. At lower power a bifurcation occurs: sudden fall-back to poorer L-mode energy confinement and hence a drop in fusion power. A number of physics processes have been identified that could play a role in these transitions.
Magnum-PSI is the only device that can currently study plasma-wall interactions under plasma and neutral conditions matching those expected in the ITER divertor. 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.
Successful operation of the ITER tokamak requires divertor operation in a detached plasma regime, in order to reduce the heat flux to the divertor plates to below the technological limits of actively-cooled plasma-facing components (PFCs), namely 10 MW/m2 at the plasma facing surfaces. The power that arrives at the divertor plates is transported through the sheath. The sheath acts to transfer energy from electrons to ions via electrostatic acceleration, in turn affecting the upstream plasma temperatures (i.e.
Strong-light matter coupling has emerged as a major cross-disciplinary field of study over recent years. This regime was originally constrained to the realm of low-temperature studies, however, extensions to room temperature through advances in the fabrication of nanophotonic structures have opened the door for numerous new research lines. In this manner, strong-coupling has been proposed as a means for modifying the internal physics of condensed matter systems, with great potential for light-harvesting, energy-transport and catalysis.
Strong-light matter coupling has emerged as a major cross-disciplinary field of study over recent years. This regime was originally constrained to the realm of low-temperature studies, however, extensions to room temperature through advances in the fabrication of nanophotonic structures have opened the door for numerous new research lines.
Two dimensional (2D) materials such as graphene, black phosphorous, and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) exhibit fascinating physical properties due to their specific band structure and reduced dimensionality. In recent years, TMDs (MX2, where M = Mo, W and X = S, Se) particularly are of much interest from a fundamental point of view but they also provide an excellent platform for ultrathin optoelectronic and photonic devices.