Luís Gil obtains PhD Research Award from EPS-PPD

Former APPLAuSE student Luís Gil was awarded one of the European Physical Society (EPS) Plasma Physics Division PhD Research Award of its 2023 edition. The prize recognizes truly outstanding research achievements associated with a PhD study in the broad field of plasma physics. Up to four prizes are given annually to young scientists from the 38 European countries associated with the EPS. This year's winners will give an oral presentation of their works at the 49th European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics.

This is the fifth time that an IPFN member wins this prestigious award, after Bruno Gonçalves (2005), Frederico Fiúza (2013), Rogério Jorge (2020) and Mario Galletti (2021), and the third APPLAuSE student to win the award.

Luís’ thesis is entitled “Stationary ELM-free H-mode in ASDEX Upgrade” and was supervised by Dr. Carlos Silva (IPFN, IST) and Dr. Tim Happel (Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Germany).

The development of steady-state high confinement ELM-free regimes is essential for the success of fusion energy as ELMs lead to unacceptably high heat loads on the divertor targets. There is an ongoing effort for developing and understanding improved confinement regimes without ELMs in several tokamaks around the world, which is turning out to be rather challenging. Luís Gil developed such a regime on ASDEX Upgrade featuring good plasma performance as well as the ability to control power exhaust. Being obtained in a tungsten-walled device, the EDA ELM-free regime developed by Luís Gil is especially relevant for ITER, whose divertor is composed of the same material. These developments are timely in the sense that they may still influence not only the research currently being done in preparation for ITER, but also the design of new devices presently in discussion. Luís Gil has achieved significant progress in characterizing and understanding the physics of the EDA ELM-free regime, with the ultimate goal of reliably assessing the compatibility of this promising regime with future reactors.

After being awarded the top final grade of Approved with Distinction Cum Laude at his PhD defence, Luís is now a junior researcher at IPFN, supported by a EUROfusion Researcher Grant.