PhD Student

Last application date
Sep 30, 2023 00:00
TW17 - Department of Applied Physics
Limited duration
MSc degree relevant to the position; e.g. in nuclear physics, applied physics or applied mathematics.
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Nuclear fusion is one of the most promising options to produce zero-carbon energy on large scales. For the stable operation of fusion reactors it is essential that we understand and are able to control the many plasma instabilities arising in the reactor. Edge Localised Modes (ELMs) in particular are instabilities that can be detrimental to the energy confinement and lifetime of the reactor. While ELMs have been successfully modelled with a fluid approach (i.e. MHD), this approach neglects important details of the underlying plasma kinetics. However, to achieve the aim of studying the turbulent transport and plasma instabilities near the walls of fusion devices, the current Particle-in-Cell codes for kinetic simulations are not well adapted. Therefore, it is necessary to first develop a grid-based Vlasov code. Using the novel idea of split adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) it will, for the first time, be feasible to fully kinetically model the onset and evolution of the instabilities.

As a PhD researcher your tasks are:
- Develop and test a split AMR Vlasov code.
- Apply the code to the study of ELMs in fusion devices.
- Share and disseminate results with colleagues and discuss interpretations at research group meetings.
- Follow the recent literature on instabilities in fusion devices and kinetic numerical approaches.
- Write reports, scientific publications, and attend international conferences
- Guide research projects of BSc and MSc (thesis) students

Job profile

- You have an MSc degree relevant to the position; e.g. in nuclear fusion, applied physics, applied mathematics or equivalent. Research experience related to computational fluid dynamics is a plus.
- You have a strong interest in numerical modeling and fusion plasmas.
- You have good knowledge of scripting or programming languages.
- You have strong analytical and critical thinking skills.
- You have an excellent command of the English language (written and spoken), and good communication skills. Experience with scientific writing is a plus.
- You are a team player willing to work in an international research environment.

How to apply

The offer:
We offer you a fully funded PhD position with a start date preferably in the period from October to December 2023.
The doctoral scholarship is initially granted for 1 year and is extended to a total of 4 years after favorable evaluation.

Send your application to with the heading “Application Kinetic_Last name_First name”.
Please provide the following documents in your application:
- your CV and an overview of your study results (merged into one pdf file)
- your application letter
- a transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession).
If you have a foreign diploma, please provide evidence of English language proficiency

Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position. Candidates found fit based on CV screening will be invited for an interview upon invitation. Please include your email address and telephone number to allow us to get in contact.

More information
For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Sven Van Loo ( Additional information about the nuclear fusion research group can be found here: