28 June 2023

Davide Gambino has been awarded the International Postdoc grant from The Swedish Research Council. The grant will enable him to investigate radiation damage in high-temperature superconductors for nuclear fusion applications with atomistic simulations. A project that has potential to take the science of nuclear fusion reactors forward, contributing to tackle the climate crisis.

Portrait picture of Davide Gambino
Davide Gambino has been awarded the International Postdoc grant from The Swedish Research Council. Carina Stahre

Davide Gambino, from Italy, is currently in his ninth year at Linköping University. Having completed his master's degree and doctoral education at LiU, he is currently postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology (IFM). He is conducting research in Theoretical Physics, specifically in the Theory of Disordered Materials(TDM).

Read more about research areas in Theoretical Physics, and Theory of Disordered Materials unit at the links below:
Theoretical Physics
Theory of Disordered Materials 

An important part of research on nuclear fusion reactors

Davide Gambino in front of  computerThe Swedish Research Council has approved 3 450 000 SEK for Davide’s project. Photo credit Carina Stahre The project approved by The Swedish Research Council consists in the theoretical and computational investigation of radiation damage in high-temperature superconductors. The project falls within the larger research area of nuclear fusion, a process that consists in the fusion of nuclei of light elements at extremely high temperatures producing extraordinary amounts of energy. In one of the suggested reactor designs, cables made of high-temperature superconductors have been proposed as the mean to produce the strong magnetic field which confines the nuclear reaction. Davide explains, although we are not yet able to produce energy with this method, this field has seen increasing interest also due to some recent research breakthroughs. The project will establish a theoretical framework, to model the level of damage of high-temperature superconducting cables, in a realistic nuclear fusion reactor’s environment. In this way, the model will highlight weak points in current reactor designs.

My research enables me to give a small contribution to the big problem of the climate crisis.

This research has a great significance for Davide since it’s the first project that he has independently conceived. But more importantly, he hopes to make a small contribution in the context of the climate crisis. Possibly the biggest problem humanity is facing, Davide says. Davide explains that finding new energy production resources with a low impact on the environment is extremely urgent to get rid of fossil fuels and mitigate the damage we have already produced. Davide argues that nuclear fusion should be seen as a means, rather than an end in itself. It can help while we figure out more sustainable means of energy production. However, it needs to be accompanied with a shift in the societal approach towards energy consumption.

VR Grant

The Swedish Research Council has approved 3 450 000 SEK for Davide’s project, which will run over the next three years, starting in July. The grant offers him the opportunity to work internationally, allowing him to grow and develop as an independent researcher. 

Dream of seeing a functional nuclear fusion reactor one day

Davide is very grateful to his PhD advisor, Dr. Björn Alling, who has pushed him to pursue his own interests and projects. He is now looking forward to developing theoretical and computational methods in a new and exciting field. Davide is eager to establish his international network and looking forward to visiting his international hosts; University of Helsinki, Finland, and Politecnico di Torino, Italy. On a longer term, he has the dream of seeing a functional nuclear fusion reactor. But first, some well-deserved rest.

Read more about Davide’s PhD advisor, Dr. Björn Alling and his future international hosts at the links below:
Dr. Björn Alling
University of Helsinki, Finland
Politecnico di Torino, Italy.

Formation of defects

Simulation of the formation of defects in a YBa2Cu3O7 crystal. The primary knock-on atom after being hit by an energetic neutron, moves in the lattice to form different type of defects. The perfect crystal lattice is not shown here, only the defects.

Read more about Theoretical Physics and Theory of Disorted Materials

Read more about Theory of Dosordered materials

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