Postdoctoral Associate

Job Number: 21711

Hours: Full Time

Date: August 16, 2022

The MIT Phase Contrast Imaging (PCI) project at DIII-D at General Atomics in San Diego has an opening for a new Post-Doctoral Associate to join the team. PCI is an imaging interferometer that provides an absolutely calibrated, wide bandwidth spatially resolved measurement of density fluctuations, and has been used in the past to measure turbulence and related transport as well as MHD modes and ICRF wave propagation in C-Mod. The DIII-D program has recently added a new MW-level RF system at a frequency of 476 MHz, with the goal of demonstrating RF current drive with whistler (or helicon) waves with application to future reactors. The MIT group is developing a novel extension of the PCI technique to allow heterodyne detection of the helicon wave by modulating the PCI laser via an Electro-Optical Modulator (EOM). The absolutely calibrated measurement of the amplitude and spatial structure of the helicon wave in the core plasma will support the DIII-D Helicon program by validating predictions using state of the art modeling tools, including the coupling of RF energy from the antenna, followed by propagation and absorption of the wave in the hot plasm core. In collaboration with senior scientists, the post-doctoral associate would take the lead in modeling the helicon RF propagation in the plasma as well as propose experiments and analyze the resulting data. Computational tools available to this project include the full wave code AORSA for hot plasma predictions inside the separatrix, COMSOL for the region near the antenna, and the ray-tracing GENRAY code for fast sensitivity estimates. This work may be extended to include nonlinear effects, such as generation of parametric decay instabilities (PDI) near the plasma edge, already observed in some initial experiments. Beyond the theoretical project, the postdoctoral scientist is expected to be engaged in all phases of the PCI experimental program, including hardware development, testing and maintenance, as well as operation of the diagnostic, data analysis, and planning of experiments. The successful candidate is expected to present the results at conferences as well as publish papers in high quality scientific journals thereby prepare for a successful career in a research establishment or academia.

REQUIREMENTS: A Ph.D. in plasma physics or closely related science or engineering discipline at the time of appointment. Must have familiarity with experimental techniques in high temperature magnetically confined plasmas, including optical diagnostic methods. Knowledge of RF wave physics in magnetically confined plasmas is highly desirable, and should have a strong desire to learn and develop creative approaches for modeling RF wave propagation in the helicon (fast lower hybrid wave, or whistler) regime in tokamak plasmas. Experience with advanced computational methods is also desirable and/or should have a desire to learn. Initial appointment is for 1 year, but renewable for up to 3 years upon satisfactory performance.

The location of the position is in San Diego, CA.

Salary Range:  $80K-$85K

Please apply for the position on the Careers at MIT website.