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.
Turbulence is known to affect the plasma in toroidal magnetic confinement devices for fusion, and linear magnetic devices. This project involves the use of langmuir probes on both the H-1 and MAGPIE devices for evaluating the total and fluctuation-induced particle flux and address fundamental physics of turbulence in these devices.
Radiofrequency waves launched from a helicon antenna produce high density plasma for materials studies in the MAGPIE devices. The dispersion of will be investigated experimentally, and compared with theory and simulations. Outcomes could include optimisation of the plasma density generated or ideas for imporved antenna designs.
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.
Austomated identification of fluctuation modes in the H-1 heliac, by associating 'signatures' such as phase, frequency and amplitude patterns, with the physical behaviour of the modes.