Cowan Receives Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Award at APS Meeting

Nov 18 2015

Tyler Cowan, Applied Physics Junior, received an “Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Award” at the 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics meeting in Savannah, GA.

Over the summer, Tyler conducted research as part of the HBT-EP Team investigating the structure and dynamics of plasma discharge disruptions. This is among the critical instabilities that must be prevented in the next generation of large energy producing tokamak experiments. In Tyler’s work, he performed the first step in modeling the currents that occur due to plasma-wall contact. His analysis of the magnetic field showed that disruptions occur in two distinct phases. The first phase is characterized by progressive increases in the current quench rate and various non-symmetric oscillations. During the second phase, the plasma moves radially inward, contacts the inner edge of the vessel, and then decreases in minor radius. Remarkably, when the hot plasma is shaped, only the latter phase is observed. In both cases, kink oscillations persist through the entirety of the disruption, with a frequency that increases over time. These findings are guiding our future  measurements of halo currents during the disruption, as well as an x-ray analysis of the plasma's interior.

The title of his research presentation was "Characterization of Mode Activity during Disruptions for Shaped and Unshaped Plasmas.”

In addition, three other undergraduates presented their plasma research at the APS Plasma Meeting. Sean Ballinger, Applied Physics Senior, presented his work, entitled "Imaging of X-point turbulence in Alcator C-Mod.” Alex Battey, Applied Physics Junior, presented his work, " Multiple-Probe Excitation and Control of Low-Frequency Fluctuations in a Laboratory Magnetosphere”; and James Page, Applied Physics Junior, presented his research entitled, "Plasma Emission Profile Recreation using Soft X-Ray Tomography."