Diada de Sant Jordi 2022

On the 23rd of April is “la Diada de Sant Jordi”, the Saint George’s Day. This is a very deep-rooted tradition in Catalonia and one of its most special days. While in the past the tradition consisted of men giving women a red rose and women giving men a book, nowadays anybody can give a book or a rose or both to anybody as they wish.

Although is not a public holiday, all throughout the day, Catalan cities and villages are filled with stalls selling books and roses as well as people walking in search of a special book or rose to give away. It is such a very fun and festive ambiance that it is difficult to explain in words; it is best to come here to experience it for yourself!

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HPC tool development for the design of HTS superconducting components for tokamak fusion systems

The development of new Tokamak concepts based on a very high magnetic field gives rise to the possibility of a new generation of compact systems and creates the opportunity to approach a family of fusion systems beyond the state of the art and thereby initiate the transition from huge machines to smaller systems compatible with concepts such as distributed generation, with less impact on the environment.

In the development of fusion systems, in addition to the conceptual evolution of elements towards new options, such as the “liquid blanket” for example, it is necessary to introduce new materials and new technologies for the construction of suitable magnets to obtain sufficiently intense magnetic fields, since low-temperature superconducting (LTS) materials are not valid for operating at the 20T [1] level required for the new designs. The quality of cables based on LTS superconducting materials is very high, as are the coils based on them [2], but LTS materials are one of the limiting factors in achieving the field values required for the new generations of compact reactors with lower cost and lower impact.

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Disentangling the electronic structure of tungsten metal

Projected Density of States (PDOS) spectra of bcc tungsten structure with 3456 atoms calculated using Linear-Scaling BigDFT, compared to hard x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HAXPES) valence band spectra. Image adapted from arXiv:2109.04761v1

Tungsten is one of the reference plasma-facing materials in fusion power devices due to its excellent temperature resistance and low tritium retention. The investigation of the electronic structure is key for implementing tungsten-based technologies as it is strongly related to the stability and properties of the material. However, despite the large efforts in studying the electronic properties of tungsten metal, some complex features are still not properly characterised.

The combination of state-of-the-art experimental and theoretical approaches is key to describing the electronic structure of tungsten, as presented in a recent publication in Physical Review B, entitled Lifetime effects and satellites in the photoelectron spectrum of tungsten metal“.

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Developing a deterministic neutron transport solver – FusionCAT Task

FusionCAT is an initiative coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC) in which seven Catalan institutions team up and collaborate in the field of research and development of fusion energy technology. The main goal is to develop state-of-the-art tools to simulate coupled physics phenomena that take place in fusion reactors leveraging the advantages of high-performance computing clusters.

Future energy production fusion reactors such as DEMO are based on the massive production of plasma neutrons. This includes their impact and effects on breeding blankets to multiply neutron output and sustain the fuel cycle. To achieve efficient energy production, the fuel cycle must be understood and optimized, which is why the second project within FusionCAT, labelled “Neutronics, tritium breeding and operational fuel cycle”, is oriented towards the analysis of the interaction between neutrons and reactor components. In this project, the first task involves the development of a high-fidelity deterministic neutron transport solver called NEUTRO.

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PhD thesis on runaway-electron model development and validation in tokamaks

Dr Mathias Hoppe with his PhD thesis at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. Credit: Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, 2022.

On January 14, our group leader Prof. Mervi Mantsinen had the honour of chairing the evaluation panel of Mathias Hoppe’s thesis entitled “Runaway-electron model development and validation in tokamaks” at the Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Super fast electrons, so called “runaway electrons”, can sometimes appear in fusion devices and can cause severe damage to the device wall. To develop technologies to prevent the generation of runaway electrons, advanced computer models accounting for all the relevant physics mechanisms playing a role in a fusion device are required, which constitutes the first part of Mathias Hoppe’s thesis. To ensure that the models are correct they must also be tested on the fusion experiments of today, which can be done using synchrotron radiation and the techniques developed in the second part of Mathias Hoppe’s thesis.

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