With a growing demand for cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, our research focuses on topics which are both relevant for fusion energy production and involve interesting, novel basic plasma science.
In particular, we are focusing on the key issues that need to be addressed for the international ITER tokamak, the world’s largest magnetic fusion device presently under construction in the South of France and due for completion in 2025. The tokamak is designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers the sun.
Our research is strongly linked to the UK's national fusion research programme at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) and several of our PhD students are based at the Culham Science Centre.
Magnetic confinement fusion explained
In magnetic confinement fusion (MCF), the fuel (deuterium and tritium) is heated to a temperature which is ten times hotter than the centre of the Sun. It is then an ionised gas: a state of matter referred to as a plasma. We confine this plasma, holding it away from material surfaces (which would otherwise suffer serious damage) by a combination of magnetic fields in a toroidal (doughnut-shaped) geometry.