Benjamin Taylor ’19, Physics

I joined Professor Cohen’s working group studying the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration (PFRC) nuclear fusion device. This device, which I had studied for my spring junior paper and will continue studying for my thesis, uses the alternative fuel Helium-3. This fuel is currently being prototyped for use in space propulsion. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the PFRC, I focused on modeling the “scrape-off layer” — which is the outermost edge of the plasma within the device. To do this, I used a plasma “fluid” code known as UEDGE and a modeling framework called OMFIT. My contribution to the large body of work by previous interns was the implementation of a new and accurate geometry of the scrapeoff layer. I did this with the help of Gingred, a recently developed grid-generating program. I plan to conduct an in-depth analysis of this new geometry for my senior thesis. The time working with the lab group focused my interest in nuclear and plasma physics and increased my empathy for the cause of fusion energy.