Fusion and plasma confinement

The ability to confine very high temperature plasmas is central to the issue of fusion power generation. RSPE hosts the H1-NF toroidal helical-axis stellarator which is used to study the physics of confined plasmas and to develop novel diagnostic instrumentation for larger power reactors. Special areas of interest include plasma turbulence and spectroscopic instrumentation.

In support of the experimental efforts, RSPE also undertakes a strong theoretical research program in modelling of plasma flow dynamics and related complex phenomena. We are also a partial host for the ARC Complex Systems Research Network.

Selected research highlights

Potential student research projects

You could be doing your own research into fusion and plasma confinement. Below are some examples of student physics research projects available in RSPE.

Please browse our full list of available physics research projects to find a project that interests you.

Recent development of a flowing MHD model for the rotating, collisional column of MAGPIE plasmas discovered the intriguing prediction of opposite axial acceleration of the plasma ions in the subsonic and supersonic regimes. This project would examine the regime above, below, and through the shock.

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A new model, multiple relaxed region MHD, has been developed to describe magnetic islands and chaotic fields in toroidal magentic cofinement. This project would extend that model to include toroidal flow.

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Fusion energy promises millions of years of clean energy, but puts extreme stress on materials. This research will resolve scientific issues surrounding plasma-material interactions to guide and facilitate development of future advanced materials for fusion reactors.

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Key to sustaining fusion plasmas is that they are MHD stable to disruptive mode activity, and other electromagnetic modes do not result in catastrophic performance degradation. The project involves exploiting a generalised MHD code to describe high frequency Compressional Alfven eigenmode activity in high plasma performance international experiments.

» Find out more about this project

Updated:  17 August 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster