Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a research-driven university of technology, with the primary objective of providing young people with an academic education in the engineering science & technology domain. In the research field, TU/e prefers to focus on a few specific areas in which it takes or can take a significant role in the international scientific world, and in which it can make meaningful contributions to the knowledge-intensive industries and other sectors of the community with a high, or rapidly developing, technology intensity. Nuclear fusion is one of these focus areas for TU/e. Spurred by the advent of the worldwide nuclear fusion experiment ITER, TU/e has decided to develop a high-profile interdisciplinary research and education programme on fusion; to feed the fusion development community with the brightest and best-prepared minds. Interest in the subject is driven by its wonderful promise of a clean, unlimited and sustainable energy source.
The research is concentrated on two items where the TU/e has a recognized strength: development of optical plasma diagnostics and the advanced control of tokamak plasmas. The core of the diagnostic development is in the active beam spectroscopy: with CXRS (Charge exchange recombination spectroscopy) the ions in the hot plasma core can be diagnosed. TU/e is coordinating the scientific R&D of this technique within the European consortium responsible for this method on ITER. A complementary technique that TU/e is working on, is the motional stark effect (MSE), which allows the determination of the plasma current profile. For the execution of the experimental programme, teams are sent to experimental devices such as KSTAR (Korea) and W7X (Germany), JET and MAST (UK) and MAGNUM-PSI (Netherlands), where research is concentrated on the application of these diagnostics to tackle physical problems like:
- the transport of the fusion product helium
- the effect of rotation on turbulence and transport in a fusion plasma
- the tailoring of the current in the edge of the plasma
The other part of the research is done in collaboration with the department of mechanical engineering. The aim here is to apply their knowledge on control systems to actively control instabilities in the fusion plasmas to regulate the fusion performance. This programme is executed in combination with the DIFFER institute on Plasma Physics that is also located at the University campus site, and has its nucleus at the ASDEX Upgrade device in Germany employing microwave diagnostics and heating techniques.