Postgraduate research opportunities Propagation of RF/microwave signals in plasma

Apply

Key facts

  • Opens: Monday 7 August 2023
  • Deadline: Thursday 30 November 2023
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 48 months
  • Funding: Home fee, Equipment costs, Travel costs, Stipend

Overview

This PhD research project will involve the student in undertaking numerical simulations and experimental investigations into RF and microwave propagation in plasma. Plasma as a non-linear and dispersive media can have a dramatic impact on the propagation of EM signals. Such effects are well known in laser-plasma interactions, in the injection of powerful microwave heating and current drive microwave signals in magnetically confined fusion plasma and in RF waves interacting in the ionosphere.
Back to opportunity

Eligibility

PhD Candidates must hold a minimum of an upper Second Class UK Honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant science or engineering discipline. Candidates must be UK Nationals and be willing to apply for and able to obtain Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) clearance.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
Back to opportunity

Project Details

The project will contribute to a major Ministry of Defence (MoD) research programme intended to develop generation after next technologies for applications in defence and security. The project will be co-funded by MBDA UK Ltd.

The project will be concerned with the Propagation of RF and Microwave Signals in non-linear and dispersive plasma media. Plasma is a complex environment for EM waves, presenting cut-offs and resonances where energy can be reflected and absorbed, a range of subtle electromagnetic and electrostatic waves which exist only in the plasma state which can mediate non-linear energy exchange with marked sensitivity to the intensity, polarisation and propagation direction of the waves, especially when subject to external magnetic fields, whilst the dispersive and non-stationary nature of the media can result in refraction and temporal spreading of signals. These effects can manifest in a range of practical environments, including the delivery of energy to a fusion plasma, interaction of radio wave in the ionosphere (with applications for communication and space weather).

The main objectives of this project are: 

  1. Understand the complex many – body electrodynamics controlling wave plasma coupling. This is expected to be relevant to a wide range of application areas. The microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum is attractive to study these dynamics due to the accessibility of the plasma and the wavelength scales. Theoretical analysis and numerical simulations of the complex wave-plasma interaction physics. Experimental measurements of the anticipated impact of the plasma on the wave and that of the wave on the plasma.
  2. The student will develop a range of transferrable skills in ‘in demand’ areas including numerical simulation and experimental techniques

The PhD candidate to undertake this project will be part of a new MoD/EPSRC Energy Transfer Technology Skills and Training (S&T) Hub. The main aim of the S&T Hub is to train the next generation of leaders in energy transfer technologies relevant for defence and other related applications. The Hub is supported by MoD, Dstl, and UK companies working in the defence and security sector.

Each student funded by the Hub will have an industrial partner and have opportunities to work with and train alongside experts from industry. The Hub offers individuals training for both a research and an industrial career path.

The student for this project will be based at the University of Strathclyde but will be part of cohort of 12 PhD students across a number of UK institutions. The Skills and Training Hub will run online and face-to-face activities to facilitate cohort building and group learning exercises throughout the PhD programme. The duration of the PhD is 4 years, and the start date is 1st October 2023.

The PhD student will be physically located in the University of Strathclyde.

The industrial partner, MBDA UK Ltd, is a major international company with interests in high power Microwave and RF systems, Pulsed Power Technology and Systems Engineering. The partner will provide PhD supervision, a placement and be part of the larger STH community benefiting in the diverse academic and industrial network offered by the STH.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

The S&T Hub is committed to providing an inclusive environment in which diverse students can thrive. The Hub particularly encourages applications from women, disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates, who are currently under-represented in the sector.  We can also consider part time PhD students.  We also encourage talented individuals from various backgrounds, with either an UG or MSc in a numerate subject and people with ambition and an interest in making a difference. 

Further information

We strongly recommend that you contact the supervisor for this project before you apply. Prof. Kevin Ronald: K.Ronald@strath.ac.uk. There may be some flexibility in the deadline, and it would be good to discuss in advance with any student who is considering part time study.

Back to opportunity

Funding details

This is a MoD/EPSRC Energy Transfer Technology Skills and Training Hub project. The duration of the PhD is 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees and a stipend set at the UKRI rate (£18,622 in 2023/2024), and funds will be available for conference attendance and training, for students to travel to industrial partners and to do longer placements with the industrial partner. The funding is for home students and applicants must be UK Nationals.

Back to opportunity

Supervisors

Professor Kevin Ronald

Physics

View profile
Dr Bengt Eliasson

Reader
Physics

View profile
Back to course

Apply

Number of places: 1

To read how we process personal data, applicants can review our 'Privacy Notice for Student Applicants and Potential Applicants' on our Privacy notices' web page.

Physics

Programme: Physics

PhD
full-time
Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

Physics

Programme: Physics

PhD
part-time
Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

Back to course

Contact us

For further details, contact Prof. Kevin Ronald: K.Ronald@strath.ac.uk, 0141 548 3484/3176.