Alkin Kaz ’23
Clean, Small Fusion Reactors
I interned with the Princeton Field Reversed Configuration (PFRC) fusion-energy research group where I focused on simulating the PFRC’s design. Fusion energy presents one of the most promising options for clean energy. Due to the complex nature of fusion’s physical parameters, however, many of the theoretical models are inapplicable and cannot provide critical technical insights. Highly sophisticated computational simulations are therefore crucial. I helped model the PFRC’s design with an industry-level open-source simulation-code suite, Vector Particle-In-Cell (VPIC), developed and maintained by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory. My main contribution was modeling the PFRC radio-frequency antennas, the shaping of which is essential for this type of fusion reactor. Close collaboration with my mentor helped in starting from scratch and coming up with a model of the fields inside the machine. Considering the intricacies of the fusion research as further learning opportunities, I was able to gain experience in both theoretical and computational plasma and fusion physics, C and C++ programming languages, Linux-operated supercomputing clusters, and the visualization software ParaView. I am looking forward to further experiences with the physics of the PFRC.
Innovation and a New Energy Future
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Samuel Cohen, Director, Program in Plasma Science and Technology, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Lecturer with the Rank of Professor in Astrophysical Sciences