PhD studentship (CDT): Dynamically-tuneable metasurfaces for laser implosion fusion applications

Exeter, Devon (GB)
11 Jun 2019
30 Jul 2019
3450
Fixed Term
Full Time

PhD studentship (CDT): Dynamically-tuneable metasurfaces for laser implosion fusion applications

The studentship is part of the UK’s Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2) based in the Departments of Physics and Engineering on the Streatham Campus in Exeter.  Our aim is to undertake world-leading research, while training scientists and engineers with the relevant research skills and knowledge, and professional attributes for industry and academia.
The 4-year studentship is funded 50:50 by an industrial sponsor and the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Exeter. It is of value around £105,000, which includes £13,000 towards the research project (travel, consumables, equipment etc.), tuition fees, and an annual, tax-free stipend of approximately £16,500 per year for UK/EU students.
Eligible candidates: UK/EU nationals only due to industry sponsor requirements.
Please visit www.exeter.ac.uk/metamaterials to learn more about our centre and see the full list of projects that we have on offer this year.
This studentship is subject to funding availability.
Project Summary
Inertial confinement fusion (ICF), a scheme in which powerful lasers are used to compress and ignite a cryogenic pellet of deuterium-tritium fuel, is one route towards a clean energy source of the future [1]. Conventional approaches to laser fusion demand extremely large and high-energy laser systems to initiate fusion, and this is proving to be a key limitation for the viability of ICF as a future energy source. In this project we aim to overcome such limitations by using novel metamaterials and metasurfaces to achieve multi-state beam zooming and deflection in ICF systems, massively increasing the coupling efficiency of the laser energy to the fuel pellet [2].
We will also explore the use of dynamic laser beam control with metasurfaces for other technologically important applications, such as laser-machining and LIDAR, working from the IR through to the UV wavelength range.
Working with AWE scientists to define zooming specifications, a range of meta-device options will be explored. Building on previous work [3, 4], the operating principle of the meta-devices could be based on (but not limited to):
1. Mie resonances in all-dielectric structures, including dual-resonant structures incorporating nonlinear element(s);
2. Structures incorporating phase-change materials;
3. Charge carrier injection techniques.
The performance of the proposed structures will be analysed using detailed electromagnetic and thermal simulations and promising prototype systems will be fabricated and experimentally characterised in the laboratory.

[1] V.N. Goncharov et al., Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 59, 014008 (2017).
[2] I.V. Igumenshchev et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 145001 (2013).
[3] C. R. de Galarreta et al., Adv. Funct. Mater. 2018, 1704993.
[4] A. J. Comley, EPJ Appl. Metamat. 2018, 5, 8.

For information about how to apply, and the application criteria, please see the project description on our website, http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studying/funding/award/?id=3450
Please email metamaterials@exeter.ac.uk if you have any enquiries about the application process or would like to discuss the project informally with the admissions tutor or supervisors.