Thesis proposals

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Fabio Subba





Sustainable Nuclear


Analysis of Liner Potential Importance in the Performance of the EU-DEMO Divertor


Mathias Groth



Prof. F. Subba and prof. M. Groth have been scientifically active since several years in the development of nuclear fusion as a viable energy supply strategy for the future, mostly in the framework of the European efforts coordinated by the EUROFusion consortium. Both proponents are collaborating, among others, with the EU-DEMO project in the specific area of Power Exhaust (PEX), a field widely recognized as critical for the protection and successful operation of the machine [1]. Moreover, both proponents are active in teaching plasma physics, with focus on nuclear fusion. Given the presence of such strong common scientific and teaching interests, joint MsC thesis projects are desirable. A first EU-DEMO divertor scenario has been recently released to the scientific community, based on simulations performed with the SOLPS-ITER code, version 3.0.6 [2]. This work represents the first attempt at predicting possible working conditions for the EU-DEMO divertorperformed with a physical model of a relevant complexity and comprehensiveness. Still, it is simplified in several aspects, for example, the description adopted for the profile of the first wall in the divertor region is considerably simplified, see Fig. 1a. In particular, a liner is considered at the bottom of the divertor to facilitate neutral particle compression. A possible profile for the liner is sketched in Fig. 1b. A possible thesis project could aim at extending the available simulations by introducing the liner in the model, updating the existing study and performing a detailed evaluation of its influence, by comparing the simulation results with the previous calculations. This work is intended to lead to more advanced studies in potential doctoral dissertation, including seting up and executing dedicated SOLPS-ITER for current fusion devices, and ITER and DEMO.

Activity description

The project is strategically divided in two parts of 3-month and 6-month periods reflecting a training period prior to conducting a M.Sc. thesis. 

1. The selected student will receive a dedicated training on the computational tools. Both proponents are expert users of the SOLPS-ITER code and can collaborate on providing such a training. At the end of this period, the student should be able to perform the necessary modifications to the available computational grid and prepare the input for the case(s) to be run. To strengthen the understanding of the edge plasma physics, the student will be encouraged to familiarize herself/himself with the two-point model and its applications to interpret available experimental or modeling data (Fig. 2) The duration of this first period is proposed to be 3 months.

2. Based on 1., the selected student will start the case(s) she/he prepared. Their duty will be to monitor them constantly to ensure smooth evolution up to a numerical steady state, to assess their successful completion and to post-process them comparatively with the available baseline scenario, to evaluate the influence of the inserted linerThe duration of this second period is estimated to be 6 months.

Activity duration:

The overall duration of the project is estimated to be 9 months.


[1] T. Donné, European Research Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy

[2] F. Subba, et al., SOLPS-ITER Modeling of Divertor Scenarios for EU-DEMO, to be submitted for publication.


From: 31 December 2021

Until: 1 January 2050


Computational Modeling



Background in plasma physics, Computational Modelling, Capacity to work in a multi-cultural international environment.



User: J Alcober - ICE

Status: Approved