Kai Torrens, ’22, Undeclared
I studied the movement of gas within the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration (PFRC), an experimental plasma-energy device at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). As this gas fuels the plasma within the PFRC, understanding its movement is key to understanding the plasma’s behavior and moving towards the goal of safe, clean fusion energy. I investigated this effect experimentally, taking data from our nine pressure sensors during biweekly experimental runs, then subtracting noise from these data, analyzing them, and sharing them weekly with the rest of our team. I supplemented this work with theoretical calculations of gas conductance. I used these calculations to develop a simple program in Python to model gas flow within the PFRC and compare the model’s predictions to experimental data. I learned valuable skills in data analysis and coding, and I gained an appreciation for the breadth of plasma physics through PPPL’s intensive weeklong introductory course. I also discovered the satisfaction of digging deeper into a complicated problem and the joy of collaboration. This summer gave me exciting insight into fascinating problems I would love to return to.