Dr Mark Ainslie

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Job title: EPSRC Early Career Fellow
Division: Department of Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Tags: Energy, Engineering, Fellowship: Early Career, Researcher, University of Cambridge
Related theme: Energy Engineering

Biography

Mark Ainslie received his PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 2012. Mark has over ten years of experience in the field of applied superconductivity in electrical engineering, and from 2012-2017, he was a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow investigating superconducting electrical machine design.

My Fellowship

Bulk superconductors can be used, when cooled to cryogenic temperatures, as super-strength, stable permanent magnets generating fields of several Tesla, compared to the 1.5-2 Tesla limit for conventional permanent magnets, such as neodymium magnets (Nd-Fe-B). This makes them attractive for a number of engineering applications that rely on high magnetic fields. The chief advantage of a bulk superconductor magnet is that the available field can be up to an order of magnitude higher than conventional permanent magnets (bulk high-temperature superconductors have been shown to be capable of trapping magnetic fields greater than 17 Tesla) and no power supply and direct connection is necessary to supply the current producing the magnetic field, as in electromagnets.

The magnetisation process of a bulk superconductor essentially involves the application and removal of a large magnetic field that induces a circulating supercurrent in the material that flows without resistance. However, one significantly challenging problem currently faced is achieving a simple, reliable and portable charging technique to magnetise such superconductors, and this is crucial to producing competitive and compact designs for high-field, trapped flux-type superconducting applications.

The primary objective of this research programme is to develop portable, high magnetic field charging of bulk superconductors for practical engineering applications, with an end goal of producing portable and commercially-viable high-field magnet systems. To achieve this, extensive experimentation and numerical modelling of the pulsed field magnetisation (PFM) technique will be carried out on state-of-the-art bulk superconductor samples to exploit the full capability of these remarkable materials.

Motivation to Apply

The EPSRC Early Career Fellowship provides an outstanding opportunity for early career researchers to focus on an exciting, cutting edge research project and to build their own research team around this activity. With academic research and funding becoming more and more competitive, Fellows are provided with generous support to tread their own path and make a significant contribution to their chosen field of interest.

Career benefit of Fellowship

With academic research and funding becoming more and more competitive, Fellows are provided with generous support to tread their own path and make a significant contribution to their chosen field of interest. Not only is funding provided for your research project, but there is ample support for a small research team, to build international collaborations, and to further develop the necessary 'soft skills,' such as project management, leadership, and communication.

Advice for future applicants

The EPSRC website provides ample information on how to apply and what skills and qualities are looked for in a Fellow, so read these carefully and make sure you fulfil all the given criteria. Your proposal should present an outstanding and unique case for:

1. Why this research project important/valuable/interesting/topical;

2. Why now (timeliness, why hasn't this been achieved already, what developments have happened that have created this unique opportunity and have put you in a unique position to solve the problem being addressed)

3. Why you (what makes your unique skill set/qualities/experiences useful to accelerate this field of research)