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From September to November 2022, I conducted an internship at the National Institute of Fusion Science (NIFS) in Japan, host of the Large Helical Device (LHD) experiment. This internship was part of my educational activities for the “Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion” master at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

For my project, I designed a special Langmuir probe which can be used for measurements of the plasma density and temperature in Radio Frequency (RF) driven discharges. Regular Langmuir probe measurements are distorted by the fluctuating RF fields in the plasma, but the new probe can compensate for this by making the voltage fluctuations at the probe tip synchronous with the plasma voltage fluctuations, thereby making the electric field near the probe tip electrostatic again. This compensation is achieved by adding a filter and second electrode to measure the plasma voltage to the probe. Some preliminary trial experiments were also conducted, indicating the probe design was successful.

As a predominantly theorist, I learnt a lot of valuable lessons from carrying out such a hands-on project. Besides the work, I had a great time visiting the different towns in the surrounding area of central Japan, each with their own unique temples, shrines, nature and rich historical background from the samurai and shogun era, together with other students. I was very lucky to have conducted my internship in this period, which allowed me to enjoy a near tourist-free Japan during the beautiful fall foliage season.

This once in a lifetime experience was well worth the initial postponement of my project due to the pandemic border restrictions, and would not have been possible without the financial support of FuseNet. Additionally, I am really grateful to my supervisor, Kenichi Nagaoka, who has been of great assistance both during my stay at NIFS, and prior to my arrival for arranging the necessary paperwork.