As part of my study “The Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion” at the Technical University of Eindhoven, I had the opportunity to spend my internship abroad at General Atomics located in San Diego USA. At General Atomics, the DIII-D tokamak is operated. This gave me the change to see how working at a fusion research institute is.
At General Atomics, I worked on the topic of replacing the Langmuir probes diagnostics with spectroscopic measurements at the Common Long Pulse Ion Source (CLPS) of the Neutral Beam Injectors (NBI). These Langmuir probes are needed for controlling the beam power of the NBI, but have caused some operational problems in the form of coolant leaks in the past. The experiments I did were done at the Miniature Arc Chamber Experiment (MACE), which is a small-scale gimmick of the CLPS made by one of the previous students.
During the three months I was there, I learned what it is like to work on experimental setups and that it is not always easy to gain good results out of it. But the most important is that I have experienced how it is to work in a research institute to notice how passionate all the researchers are to let fusion work, which is a great environment to work in.
Besides the experience at General Atomics, San Diego is a great place to live if you are an outdoor or ocean enthusiast, so you will never get bored there. As conclusion, I would like to thank EUROfusion and FuseNet for providing funding to make this experience possible.
— Sim Bouwmans