jeremy m. hanson

Research: plasma physics, fusion energy

My research is in understanding and controlling the stability of plasmas in tokamak devices. Tokamaks confine a hot, high-pressure plasma in a toroidal configuration, using a strong magnetic field (on the order of a Tesla). An additional confining field is generated by driving an electrical current in the plasma itself.

Tokamak devices have already demonstrated tens of megawatts of controlled fusion power. However, improved control of tokamak plasmas will facilitate operation at higher pressures and lead to increased fusion output per amount of input energy.

My doctoral studies, undertaken on the HBT-EP experiment at Columbia University, focused on the development and optimization of a Kalman filter-based algorithm for the control of a surface-wave tokamak instability called the external kink mode. The Kalman filter used a simple, linear model for the kink mode that assumed rigid growth and rotation. However, the algorithm was found to significantly improve feedback performance under noisy conditions.

I am now pursuing similar research at the DIII-D tokamak in San Diego, CA. I am an associate research scientist in the department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia University.