Federico Scurti is a Post-doc Research Scientist at the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to receiving his PhD from NCSU, he received a B.S. in Energy Engineering and an M.S. with highest honors in Energy and Nuclear Engineering from the University of Bologna.
His current research project is about HTS-based superconducting magnets quench detection. Nuclear fusion technology, high energy particle physics, power transmission, energy storage, magnetic resonance imaging are some of the fields where superconducting materials play a crucial role. They would all benefit from the use of HTS materials. However one of the unsolved issues that prevent the use of HTS materials from becoming widespread is their quench protection. Federico is developing and investigating a novel quench detection system based on the use of optical fibers as distributed sensors. The measurement system takes advantage of Rayleigh back-scattering that occurs in optical fibers to estimate quantities related to temperature and strain. Thanks to a high spatial resolution and quick measurement, normal zones can be detected and localized and their size monitored in time. These features, along with an understanding of the minimum propagating zone (MPZ) enables a new simple quench detection logic, based on the size of the MPZ instead of a threshold voltage.