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Heating and diagnosing fusion plasmas

This course introduces the necessary tools, and teaches the physics and technical aspects of state-of-the-art heating and diagnosing methods in nuclear fusion research.


Essential in the development of a fusion reactor are the heating and diagnostic methods. Heating a plasma to achieve the required temperature of a few hundred million degrees where nuclei can fuse is for sure nontrivial. Control of the plasma by the same external tools is even more challenging. The development of diagnostics to monitor the plasma behavior and sensors used in different actions to control the plasma, poses another challenge of key importance to the operation of a fusion reactor.

In this lecture course the principles of both tools, heating and diagnostics, will be discussed as well as the technical realization. Topics are:

  • The interaction of electromagnetic waves with plasma particles, since several heating and diagnostic methods are based on this;
  • Heating methods:
    • Ohmic heating
    • radio-frequent heating
    • electron cyclotron heating
    • neutral beam injection and current drive
  • Diagnostics methods:
    • magnetic measurements
    • microwave diagnostics
    • laser aided plasma diagnostics
    • probes
    • spectroscopy
    • fusion product diagnostics

Implications of the harsh radiative environment of a fusion reactor on diagnostics will be discussed as well.

Heating and diagnosing fusion plasmas

the Netherlands - Eindhoven University of Technology
Course Type
Course Type
In person
Suggested Audience
Suggested Audience