[PAST EVENT] Physics Colloquium - Rogerio Jorge

February 13, 2023
4pm - 5pm
Small Hall, Room 111
300 Ukrop Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
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  • Open to the public
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Rogerio Jorge, IST, University of Lisbon, Title of talk: Recent nuclear fusion breakthroughs using stellarator optimization

Abstract: The success of magnetic confinement nuclear fusion requires magnetic fields with optimal properties. Namely, these should provide the necessary plasma performance to sustain high-temperature plasmas for a long enough time. However, there are still important outstanding issues in magnetic fusion, such as the understanding and control of plasma density, fast particles, and turbulence. To achieve good confinement, recent experiments such as HSX and W7-X have been designed using optimization based on the calculation of MHD equilibria at each evaluation of the objective function. Here, we show how new design methods have been able to reduce the computational cost of such optimization efforts by orders of magnitude, while also providing new insights into the space of solutions. These methods enable a direct geometrical construction of magnetic fields with extremely good confining properties such as quasisymmetry and quasi-isodynamic fields. Thanks to the reduced computational cost, we are able to achieve good particle confinement with much higher accuracy than reported before and perform wide surveys over parameter space. Furthermore, many figures of merit can be now calculated directly, including MHD stability and heat flux, making the design of a fusion machine optimized for turbulent transport and fast particles a possibility in the near future.