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Rollo Hutson

PGR Student

PGR Student in the Department of Physics


I started my experimental PhD in Durham’s Superconductivity Group in Oct 2021, supervised by Professor Damian Hampshire, as part of the EPSRC’s Fusion CDT, having finished a master’s degree in Engineering at Durham University and worked in industry for two years. 

Research Interests

The PhD project focusses on critical current measurements of high temperature superconductors, and aims to expand our measurement capabilities at Durham University to higher currents. In particular, we are aiming to design, commission and test new remountable superconducting joints, in view of their application in Magnetic Confinement Fusion (MCF).
MCF is becoming increasingly promising as a safe and green energy source for the future, and the project is centred on the need for modular superconducting magnets, which can be dismantled and reassembled, for future fusion experiments and reactors. Remountable joints in superconducting magnets are considered an essential part of making fusion energy a viable commercial reality. [1]
The topology of existing monolithic tokamaks (without joints) means that the magnets and first wall in current MCF machines can’t easily be repaired or replaced without extreme costs in time and money. Modular magnets will allow replacements to be made in smaller parts and will not require dismantling the vacuum vessel, significantly reducing the cost and complexity of repairing a damaged tokamak. They will also enable the use of more complex field coils, such as those used in advanced divertor designs. [2]
The currents required in MCF magnets coils are extremely large (e.g. 68 kA in each cable in the toroidal-field coils in ITER [3]), so this project aims to produce and measure superconducting joints with critical currents in the kA range. The joints need to be low loss and low cost, and have good thermal, electrical, and mechanical stability.

Experimental Work & Facilities

I am currently working with commercial REBCO tapes, carrying out critical current measurements as a function of applied magnetic field strength and angle. This involves variable temperature measurements in liquid nitrogen using an iron-core electromagnet, and will continue on to 4.2 K measurements at fields up to 15 T, in our liquid helium cooled split-pair magnet. 

Yeekin Tsui, Elizabeth Surrey and Damian Hampshire. Soldered Joints – An essential component of demountable HTS fusion magnets – SUST 29 075005 (2016) 


[1] Hashizume, Hidetoshi & Ito, Satoshi & Yanagi, Nagato & Tamura, Hitoshi & Sagara, Akio. (2017). Development of remountable joints and heat removable techniques for high-Temperature superconducting magnets. Nuclear Fusion. 58. 10.1088/1741-4326/aa874f.

[2] LaBombard, B. & Marmar, E. & Irby, J. & Terry, J. & Vieira, Roseane & Wallace, Gavin & Whyte, D.G. & Wolfe, S. & Wukitch, S. & Baek, S. & Beck, W. & Bonoli, P. & Brunner, D. & Doody, J. & Ellis, R. & Ernst, D. & Fiore, Carlos & Freidberg, J.P. & Golfinopoulos, Theodore & Zweben, S.J.. (2015). ADX: A high field, high power density, advanced divertor and RF tokamak. Nuclear Fusion. 55. 10.1088/0029-5515/55/5/053020.

[3] C. Sborchia, Y. Fu, R. Gallix, C. Jong, J. Knaster and N. Mitchell, "Design and Specifications of the ITER TF Coils," in IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 463-466, June 2008, doi: 10.1109/TASC.2008.921339.