Thesis proposals

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Mathias Groth





Sustainable Nuclear


Interpretative studies of detachment in the JET and ASDEX Upgrade tokamaks


Fabio Subba



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. This project aims at training students at the M.Sc. level in scrape-off layer physics and the application of edge fluid codes, such as SOLPS-ITER, against actual experiments, sets of well-diagnosed plasmas were run and analyzed in the JET and ASDEX Upgrade tokamaks (Fig. 1). These plasmas are typical low confinement mode plasmas, including all relevant scrape-off layer regimes, different hydrogen isotopes, sputtered and deliberately injected impurities and, in the future, helium as the majority species. Through the project, the student will become familiar with experimental data and their interpretation from code predictions. The second part of the joint proposal for a M.Sc. thesis project is to use existing SOLPS-ITER simulations to interpret simple plasmas in JET and ASDEX Upgrade. Examples for such studies are the comparison between JET hydrogen, deuterium and tritium plasmas, and JET and ASDEX Upgrade helium plasmas. Such training 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 analyse existing SOLPS-ITER or EDGE2D-EIRENE simulations for the plasma conditions in the main scrape-off layer (outer midplane) and across the divertor targets (Fig. 1b). The student will assess the validity of the analytic two-point model [1,2] against edge fluid simuations, thereby developing basic understanding of SOL physics. The duration of this first period is proposed to be 3 months.

2. Based on 1., the selected student will extend their studies toward comparing edge fluid predictions to experimental data and independently performing SOLPS-ITER simulations for assess transport models and boundary conditions in the fluid code. Depending on the progress of the project, the hydrogen isotope mass will be varied and helium introduced as the main ion species. The duration of this second period is estimated to be 6 months, fulfilling the requirement of a M.Sc. thesis.

Activity duration:

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


[1] C.S. Pitcher, P.C. Stangeby, Experimental divertor physics, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 39 (1997) 779.

[2] P.C. Stangeby, Basic physical processes and reduced models for plasma detachment, Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, IOP Publishing, 2018, 60, 044022

[3] J. Karhunen, PhD thesis 2018, Aalto University.


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: Sotsdireccio Ice

Status: Approved