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News & Media

COLLABORATION ACCOUNTABILITY RESPECT EXCELLENCE / CARE

Finding Research Inspiration in an Open Platform

  • NameKFE
  • Date2022-11-09
  • Hit741

[Interview] Dr. Dong Keun Oh, Superconducting Magnet R&D Team, Fusion Engineering Research Center

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With technology evolving faster and in increasingly complex ways, the research environment is also changing. Open innovation and open platforms have become common keywords in science and technology as well. Communication and collaboration in STEM has not only increased speed but also reduced distances, becoming a critical key to solving scientific challenges.



​Idea from a High Temperature Superconductor Research Community


A notoriously complex and challenging field, nuclear fusion energy has relied on information sharing and collaboration between nations, publicly-funded research institutions, and universities. More recently, this collaboration has been taking place in open platforms and small researcher communities, which are quickly becoming effective research spaces giving inspiration to researchers through communication.


One researcher at Korea Institute of Fusion Energy recently developed a new computational analysis method taking inspiration from an open platform. We interviewed Dr. Dong Keun Oh of the Superconducting Magnet R&D Team at the Fusion Engineering Research Center about this breakthrough.


Dr. Oh’s idea came from www.htsmodelling.com, a high temperature superconductor (HTS) research community. In this community, researchers share their findings on a page with the statement, “This page contains shared examples of numerical models. Feel free to download the files and use them.”


“I was looking for resources on high temperature superconductors as part of my work when I first discovered the HTS modeling community. A study on the computation of magnetic fields in superconducting magnets caught my eye. It crossed my mind that I could improve upon the methodology. So I applied this idea into actual research, and wrote a paper that was published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). I then shared this data in the same way, uploading it to the community,” recounted Dr. Oh.


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(The HTS modelling community where a wide range of information is shared freely.)


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(Images of the modelling method published with the paper)



Paper Took Only 1 Year to Complete… Open Platform for R&D Innovation


The findings shared in the HTS modelling community that caught Dr. Oh’s interest was a method to compute magnetic fields in a high temperature superconductor with great precision, down to the most minuscule areas. If this computation is not accurate, the properties of a high temperature superconducting wire cannot be ascertained, which complicates the design process.


A German researcher had shared a method for magnetic field calculation called A-formulation, using magnetic vector potential. Seeing this data, Dr. Oh thought that it might be possible to use the H-formulation instead, as a more direct approach to the magnetic field. While searching for related data and fleshing out his idea, Dr. Oh found a paper from 1991 on magnetic field computation in iron cores, unrelated to superconductors. Referring to the gathered data and adding his own modifications, he was able to develop a new computational method in consideration of the domain of discretized magnetic elements and its stray field out of the surface.


It only took about a year from the time that the idea was conceived to produce findings and publish the paper, demonstrating the power of the open platform to shorten R&D cycles and play a decisive role in innovation.

Dr. Oh’s paper titled “An Alternative in H-Formulation to the Critical Current Model of HTS Conductors” was published in an IEEE journal in October. It presents a new computational analysis method to calculate critical current in the design of a high temperature superconductor (HTS), with the advantage of dramatically reducing air volume, an inevitable a part of magnetic field computations. Furthermore, the method makes it relatively easier to develop models considering the effect of external magnetic fields, which means that the computations can be applied more easily and accurately to the actual operating environment of the superconductor.


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(Dr. Dong Keun Oh presenting his research findings)


Dr. Oh expressed his hopes for open platforms, saying, “In traditional research environments, even if you had an idea drawing from existing research, it was often almost impossible unless you were able to get help from the researcher and obtain the data. Now, many researchers go beyond presenting and publishing at conferences and journals, openly sharing not just their study and findings but also the entire computational method and software developed in the process, so that other researchers can attempt to reproduce the findings using such data. They are also allowed to use these materials freely in other research. More and more people will create open platforms allowing their findings to be shared, contributing to greater progress. I hope collaborations through open platforms like these will become more active in fields like nuclear fusion, which are both challenging and necessary for the shared future of humanity.

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