School Seminar Program

Unravelling the physics of magnetically confined plasmas for fusion energy through advanced, detailed measurements

Dr Clive Michael
Plasma Research Laboratory,

With the construction of the ITER device in France for the first demonstration of a fully “fusion burning” plasma, the development of a predictive capability is essential. However, simulation of plasma from first principles is highly complex, particularly since many of the phenomena related to waves and instabilities controlling the confinement are regulated by highly nonlinear processes. Throughout my career, I have been involved in making measurements of, and studying the underlying physics though the development and operation of plasma diagnostic systems on fusion relevant experiments.  These contribute to fundamental understanding on different levels – from basic validation of well-established theory, to the guidance of theory. Some examples I will demonstrate are, identifying which class of instability is most significant in the case of the loss of fusion alpha particles, and investigating the complex inter-relationship between turbulence, flow shear, and aspects of the magnetic topology (including so-called “rational” surfaces and magnetic shear) with the dramatic localized improvement of confinement (so-called “transport barriers”).

I will show results from experiments I have worked on, and outline the techniques used to make measurements, which draw upon other disciplines including optics and atomic physics.  Finally, I will show what I am working on presently including studies of the influence of magnetic topology on confinement and stability here on the H-1 Heliac, as well as studies of current drive and MHD stability in the through the deployment of diagnostics on the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Reactor.

Dr Clive Michael is a plasma diagnostic specialist at the Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility.  Having completed his PhD at ANU in 2004, he worked overseas at the Large Helical Device in Japan for 4 years and at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, in the United Kingdom for 4 years before returning to Australia in 2012 to work with Prof. John Howard on advanced diagnostics for a fusion reactor in Korea

Date & time

Thu 21 Apr 2016, 3–4pm


RSPE Seminar Room Oliphant Building 60, Mills Road


Staff, students and public welcome