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Sven Korving - Internship at ITER

Up to the task: extending the kinetic particle tracer in JOREK MHD code 

At the end of November 2017 I drove with my car to the south of France. In the days before my internship at ITER had started, I was well received by Daan van Vugt, who acted as my daily supervisor during my internship at ITER. In these days I explored the area and went up the closest mountain to Aix-en-Provence, The Sainte-Victoire. A short vacation before I started at ITER.

My internship was about the implementation and verification of a particle source due to sputtering in the non-linear MHD code JOREK. As JOREK is programmed in Fortran, next to learning JOREK I also had to learn Fortran.  My sputtering model is built as a part of the kinetic particle tracer, which is an extension of JOREK.


(Selfie in front of the Tokamak building and assembly hall on the ITER worksite)

Introducing sputtering: much more than implementing equations

I mostly spent the first month of my internship on the theory concerning my project and learning about JOREK and FORTRAN. To introduce sputtering to JOREK, I needed to look into plasma sheath physics and physical sputtering. JOREK simulates the plasma up to the plasma sheath entrance. So I had to simulate the effects of the plasma sheath. The kinetic particle tracer works with simulated kinetic particles, thus, a sputtering model which works with individual particles needed to be implemented.

Next to programming those models, a data structure representing the edge of the plasma was created to store information for diagnostics and verification of the models. As this was my first time setting up a program of such size, at the beginning it was quite difficult to have a clear overview of the design and structure of the program.Thankfully, I received great help by my supervisors. Working on this code was exciting research, but also difficult as it was relatively new to me. Now, with the sputtering model, new research opportunities have opened up. It was a bit difficult to let go, as I really enjoyed myself working on the code and with amazing people there.

(All the guys doing research at ITER; I am the second from left)

ITER: an inspiring community and environment

At the end of my internship we went on a ITER worksite tour with a group of interns, PhD’s and Post-docs all doing research at ITER. It was amazing to walk in the Poloidal Field Coil Facility, and stand inside the cryostat housing and the assembly hall. Of course, if you read about ITER, you know everything is big. But standing there, you really experience how immensely huge everything is, and how many people are constructing ITER. I would like to thank FuseNet for enabling this experience.

Next to all the hard work at ITER, there was also time for activities in the weekends. Most interns, PhD’s and Post-Docs are into skiing/snowboarding. So, often we would leave from ITER Friday afternoon with packed cars and drove to the Alps for the weekend to go skiing. Next to that, the nature around Aix-en-Provence is beautiful, and I spent many hours hiking and mountainbiking there in the hills.