Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) has a vacancy in the research group on Multiscale Dynamics for a PhD student
on the numerical modeling and investigation of electric discharges within insulators. Job description
Partial discharges are a common phenomena in electrical equipment. They occur when a small electric discharge forms within (or around) electrical insulation, for example because it contains a void or a crack. In this project, the focus is on partial discharges that occur in high-tech actuators, such as those used to position wafers for chip production. The performance of such actuators can be improved by using higher operating voltages and by switching those voltages on and off faster, but this leads to increasing failures that are probably related to partial discharges. For this reason, a large collaborative project recently started with academic partners from TU Eindhoven, TU Delft and CWI and industry partners ASML and Tecnotion.
The goal of the PhD project at CWI is to use numerical simulations to better understand where and when partial discharges form in an actuator, and how their presence relates to mechanical defects. The research will be done in collaboration with project partners, for example to establish the geometries that will be studied and the operating conditions, to compare simulation results of partial discharges with experimental measurements, and to provide information about partial discharges to project partners. Information about methodology
There are currently different types of discharge simulation codes available in the group, based on either a fluid or a particle-based approach. These codes are parallelized and they use adaptive mesh refinement, but they are not directly suitable for simulating partial discharges in somewhat complex geometries with dielectrics and electrodes. Depending on the candidate's expertise and interest, the candidate could for example put more emphasis on:
- Validating existing partial discharge models against experimental data in relatively simple geometries
- Implementing an efficient field solver and discharge model suitable for complex geometries
- The inverse problem: what can be learned about a sample from partial discharge measurements?
- Developing a simplified model for partial discharges and their long-term effects, and validating this model against experiments