|MIT Department: Nuclear Science and Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Nuno Loureiro
Undergraduate Institution: College of William and Mary
I am a rising senior studying physics William & Mary. I also enjoy taking math and computer science courses. At my undergraduate institution, I work in a research group where I computationally study plasma physics. When I complete my undergraduate education, I plan to pursue a PhD in Physics, Nuclear Engineering, or a related field, where I intend to do computational and theoretical research studying plasmas. Afterwards, I hope to remain in academia and help build the next generation of scientists and researchers. I would love to be able to help lower the barriers to entry that many marginalized people face when pursuing a career in scientific research. Outside of academics, I enjoy listening to and playing music, spending time with my loved ones, meeting new people, and learning about new topics.
Diagnosing Magnetic Reconnection in Simulations of Tokamak Scrape-off
Reehan Siraj1, Noah Mandell2, Nuno Loureiro2
1 Department of Physics, College of William & Mary
2 Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Improving our understanding of plasmas is important to help us develop widely available sustainable energy in the form of fusion energy. However, the many different fluid and electromagnetic interactions make the study of plasmas challenging. One region of laboratory plasmas that is particularly difficult to study is the tokamak scrape-off layer (SOL), or the edge region of the plasmas where they interact with the storage device, called a tokamak. The Gkeyll code has recently demonstrated the first capability to simulate gyrokinetic turbulence in the SOL where fluctuations in the magnetic field are accounted for. Including these fluctuations means that there may be magnetic field lines breaking and reconnecting in these simulations. This phenomenon, known as magnetic reconnection, can be difficult to diagnose in these three-dimensional regimes. In this work we develop a set of analysis tools that searches for signatures of reconnection and suggests locations where it may be occurring. This will enable further study of reconnection in the SOL and its impact on SOL dynamics and transport. Here, we apply these analysis tools to Gkeyll simulations, where we find evidence that magnetic reconnection is occurring in the simulations. These analysis tools can later be applied to other systems with three-dimensional magnetic reconnection, such as the solar corona or other astrophysical plasma systems.