Research Projects

Energetic particle transport in stellarators

One of the primary requirements for an effective fusion power plant (FPP) is the sufficient confinement of the fusion products, the energetic alpha particles produced in the deuterium-tritium reaction. These energetic particles must be confined sufficiently long such that they can deposit their energy in the thermal bulk and maintain the fusion burn. Furthermore, rapid losses must be avoided to mitigate destruction of the material walls of the fusion device.

Shape optimization of stellarator magnetic fields

Stellarators possess an immense amount of freedom in the choice of magnetic field. Modern stellarators are designed using numerical optimization techniques to find configurations with improved confinement properties consistent with engineering constraints. Navigating through the associated high-dimensional, non-convex design space is practically challenging. Our research focuses on the development of improved algorithms for efficient optimization techniques, such as through the deployment of adjoint methods.

Summer UG/MS Research Opportunity: Single-stage magnet optimization for new plasma lab devices

Traditionally, stellarator design has proceeded in two stages. In the first stage, the shape of the plasma boundary is optimized for beneficial physics properties, while in the second stage, magnets are designed to produce the desired boundary. New methods enable these two stages to be combined, allowing for engineering constraints of the magnets to be addressed earlier in the stellarator design process. This project will apply these new methods to the design of new experiments in the Columbia Plasma Laboratory.

Summer UG/MS Research Opportunity: Symplectic integration for the dynamics of fusion products

Magnetic confinement fusion systems rely on the confinement of the charged fusion products, the alpha particles, for a sufficiently long time that they can deposit their heat in the hot plasma bulk. One magnetic confinement concept, the stellarator, has historically suffered from poor confinement of alpha particles. Numerical optimization algorithms have recently demonstrated the ability to obtain stellarator magnetic fields that could be candidates for a fusion energy device.