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Jaap Hermens - internship at University of Sydney

During the winter of 2018-2019 I left Eindhoven for a research internship Down Under supported by FuseNet. At the University of Sydney I analyzed Deuterium ion motion in an inertial electrostatic confinement (IEC) device using Doppler spectroscopy. Results indicated that converging ion motion with multiple pass throughs is not happening in a certain regime. This result goes against most literature, which made me do extensive experiments to reproduce the results under different circumstances to validate the diverging ion motion.

More research has to be done to completely validate the theory of diverging ions in an IEC fusor, but my research contributed to the validation of the IEC hollow cathode model, which has been proposed by the plasma physics research group of the University of Sydney since 2006, yet has not been accepted or studied by other research groups. Setting up the experiment in and around the small fusion reactor was very hands-on technical work, which taught me a lot about the practical nature of setting up experiments. While analyzing the Doppler-shifted spectra taught me the complexity of discharge physics, and the number of assumptions one has to make when most plasma parameters are unknown. Furthermore, working in a different country with a different culture showed me another work attitude, that I’ll take home.

During my time in Sydney I stayed in a house with Australian students, which made my Aussie experience more complete. In the weekends I discovered the city, and later saw the beautiful nature surrounding this large metropolis. After finishing the internship I drove up the east coast with a van for a few weeks, which is one of the coolest things I’ve every done.

- Jaap Hermens