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Garud Snoep - Internship at the Plasma Physics group at the University of Sydney

Master internship at the University of Sydney, Australia.
Reported by Garud Snoep. Powered by FuseNet.

For my master internship I went to the Plasma Physics Research group at the University of Sydney in Australia. The subject of the internship was the development of an electron density diagnostic for use in a Polywell, which is one of several alternative fusion concepts being studied in Sydney. Seeing these concepts first-hand and working with my colleagues in the plasma group was exciting.

The project

The new diagnostic I worked on makes use of the plasma oscillation method, where a weak electron beam is used to destabilise plasma waves so that they grow in amplitude. These waves can be picked up with an antenna and their frequency gives a measure for the local electron density in the plasma. Adding a magnetic field changes the dispersion of the plasma waves and thus the measured frequency. Therefore, these changes due to the magnetic field have to be taken into account when determining the electron density in the Polywell.

The main goal of my project was to find out what the influence of the magnetic field is on the measured frequency. In order to do so, we built a simplified setup with a uniform magnetic field, because a Polywell has a very complex magnetic field structure. A lot of the work was very practical in nature, e.g. constructing and validating a Helmholtz coil, constructing the measurement setup and, of course, doing a lot of measurements with the new diagnostic.

 

Sydney

Sydney is an amazing and beautiful city with friendly and welcoming people. Finding an affordable apartment in central Sydney turned out to be quite challenging, but I managed to find a nice one close to the university. I shared the apartment with 5 roommates, either students themselves or in Australia on a working holiday visa to get some life experience. I really liked this type of accommodation since all of us were relatively new to Sydney, which made for a shared experience. During my stay in Australia I met a lot of new people and made some great new friends. On weekends we visited some of the beautiful places in and around Sydney like the Blue Mountains, Palm Beach, the Royal National Park and The North Head of Sydney Harbour.

This internship and all other experiences and adventures in Australia, were only possible due to the FuseNet internship grant I recieved, for which I am very grateful.