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Dr Francesca Poli


Post Doctoral Fellow




I have joined CFSA in September 2007 as a PDRA on a position funded by EPSRC.

I have studied Physics at the University of Roma, La Sapienza (Italy), and graduated with a dissertation on Old Stellar Populations.

After a formation in astrophysics, I have decided to switch to Plasma Physics. I have undertaken a Post-graduate Master in Plasma Physics and Thermonuclear Controlled fusion at the University of Padova (Italy).

During 2000-2002, as an EURATOM-ENEA Fellow I have been part of the FTU (Frascati Tokamak Upgrade) team in Frascati, taking care of the neutron and gamma-ray diagnostics. I have studied the generation and dynamics of runaway electrons on Ohmic and heated discharges.

From 2002-2007 I was a PhD assistant at the Ecole Polythecnique Federale de Lausanne (in Switzerland). I have worked on the basic plasma physics experiment TORPEX (TORoidal Plasma EXperiment) from the very early stages of its construction. I have investigated electrostatic, drift-interchange instabilities and their development into turbulence.

Research interests and current projects

Plasma instabilities, electrostatic and electromagnetic turbulence. Wavelet analysis, nonlinear spectral analysis and their applications to the study of plasma turbulence and intermittent phenomena.

Experimental characterisation of toroidal mode number of Edge Localized Modes (ELMs).

Edge Localized Modes are seen as bursts in the magnetic perturbations measured at the plasma edge by sets of Mirnov pickup coils. In order to identify the MHD instabilities that may be at the origin of the ELM, it is necessary to measure the toroidal mode number of ELMs during their linear and nonlinear phases. This is tricky because ELMs are short lived and because, during their nonlinear phase, they consist of the superoposition of many modes.

Using the Morlet wavelet I have shown that it is possible to reconstruct the toroidal mode number spectrum of ELMs during the short time window that precede the burst.

I am currenlty working in collaboration with TF-M and TF-S1 at JET to the comparison between the spectra of spontaneous ELMs and ELMs triggered by pellets and mitigated by EFFCs (Error Field Correction Coils).

Development of a synthetic scattering diagnostic for validation of gyrokinetic simulations of ETG turbulence vs experiments on NSTX.

I am working on this project in collaboration with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in the United States.

Recent measurements on NSTX (National Spherical Torus Experiment) have shown the presence of turbulent fluctuations in the range of the electron Larmor radius. Global, nonlinear simulations for experimental discharges have been carried out using a gyrokinetic code (GTS), for direct validation against experiments.

My contribution to the present project consists in the development of synthetic diagnostics for validation of simulations against experiments. A synthetic diagnostic acts like a filter that, applied to simulated fluctuations, reproduces the response of the instrument of measurement.


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