Theoretical plasma physics
Several fusion technologies could be of interest to material science. A research project has been initiated to study more sophisticated plasma sources, with robust methods for plasma confinement, plasma build up, plasma heating and extraction of particles towards a substrate. Key parameters for material synthesis from a plasma are the ionization degree, the plasma density and the production of chemically active particles and molecules. Application of new methods in these fields could have a strong impact on the possibilities to synthesize sophisticated materials, such as diamond or cubic Bohr nitride.
Mirror machines are a candidate for a fusion reactor. Advantages with mirror machines include the continous mode of operation and the flexibility with the open geometry. The particle confinement in presently tested mirror machines is comparatively good, with ion temperatures in the fusion regime in the best machines. Drawbacks are the low electron temperature and the end leakage. To resolve the problems for mirror machines, a "straight field line mirror" has been proposed by the group. Due to the advantage that the particles move on a magnetic surface, the plasma is stable and a scenario to control end losses can be developed.
For more information on theoretical plasma physics, please contact Olof Ågren.