Zhaonan Qu, 2015, Mathematics

Fusion energy is among one of the several most promising new energy resources. The Tokamak is a relatively developed fusion reactor that has been utilized to confine fusion plasma, whose temperature could reach 100 million degrees Celsius, so that fusion reactions can take place. However, a major technical issue remains unsolved for fusion energy reactors: Temperature in the Scrape-Off Layer (SOL, the part of the plasma immediately in contact with reactor walls) remains hard to control, which could lead to severe damage to reactors, breaking a sustainable fusion reaction. To stabilize the temperature in SOL, impurity ions with high radiative power are introduced into the plasma, so that much of the power is dissipated through various atomic and ionic reactions. In short, reduction of heat flux along the magnetic field lines is a crucial step towards a stable temperature. My research for the summer of 2013 focused on establishing and developing a model that predicts the cooling rate and heat flux reduction of several different impurity elements in the fusion plasma. This summer’s research position at PPPL provided me with the great opportunity to further develop my work at PPPL last summer, and to work closely with an inspiring figure in plasma physics, Professor Godlston.