One of the biggest challenges for any fusion power plant will be the power exhaust. While most of the generated fusion energy leaves the plasma directly in form of neutrons, a considerable part remains in the plasma. In order to exhaust this energy in a safe way, it needs to be guided (aka “diverted”) towards actively cooled, heat-resistant target plates – the so-called “Divertor”.
In a Stellarator, this guiding function can be realised by magnetic islands located at the plasma edge that are intrinsic to the magnetic configuration. The Advanced Stellarator experiment Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X, Germany) has recently demonstrated that this type of “Island Divertor” can achieve excellent energy exhaust performance. However, it remains an open question if and how the Island Divertor can extrapolate to a Stellarator power plant. The PhD project proposed here will be one of the first to tackle this question.
In particular, the W7-X divertor was designed to be highly flexible and accommodate a high number of different magnetic configurations, but was not necessarily optimised for maximum performance. Consequently, the target geometry is rather open, allowing, for example, neutral particles to escape. This lowers the amount of neutrals in the divertor region, which has a number of consequences, one of which is a reduced particle exhaust.
Consequently, for a Stellarator reactor, different target geometries need to be explored, including advanced designs beyond W7-X. But not only the target geometry plays a role, also the geometry of the magnetic islands and of the magnetic geometry itself play a role and may ultimately be an ingredient for optimisation and reactor design. A design challenge, where physics, engineering, and computational design come together in a multi-disciplinary environment.
The goal of this project is to determine if the Island Divertor can scale to reactor conditions and to what degree the target geometry can be modified (even radically) to achieve high performance exhaust in a Stellarator reactor.
We offer the following:
- A PhD position for 1 year, which in case of positive annual evaluations, will be extended up to a maximum of 4 years, with a view to obtaining the PhD in Applied Physics.
- An exciting and multi-disciplinary research environment at the intersection of physics, engineering, and computational design. With a project that will play an important role in design process for the next-step Stellarator device.
- The possibility to participate in international conferences, collaborations, as well as participation in the W7-X experiment if tangible gaps are identified
Profile of the candidate
The project is situated at the interface between plasma physics, engineering, and computational design. We are therefore looking for a highly motivated candidate who is prepared to take on a challenge in such a multi-disciplinary environment and strives to overcome potential hurdles with initiative and team work. As a successful candidate for this position, you should have:
- M.Sc. degree in physics, or engineering with physics background, or in a closely related field
- Experience in computer programming languages, such as Python, Fortran, or C
- Motivation to work with various code frameworks
- Creativity and a good sense of initiative are highly desired in this position. Furthermore, you will collaborate within the European and international fusion community. This may involve travel abroad to some of the international fusion laboratories that we collaborate with.
- Proficient verbal and written communication skills in English necessary to work in a multi-disciplinary environment, to author technical and scientific reports and publications, and to deliver scientific presentations.
Skills, knowledge and abilities in the following areas are highly desirable and are given preference:
- Plasma, MHD, fluid, and gas physics
- Computational physics, including computational design and high performance computing
- The primary language of communication within the Group is English.
How to apply
Please submit your application by email in PDF format to Dr. Felix Warmer (firstname.lastname@example.org). The application must consist at least of the following files:
- Your CV
- Motivation letter (max. 2 pages)
- Master Thesis
- M.Sc. certificate and all transcripts of records (B.Sc. and M.Sc.)
Only complete application files will be considered. Please contact Felix Warmer in case of questions.
TU/e reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider also candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.