Helmholtz International Fellow as visiting scientist at IPP

Visiting research work at Garching / award by Helmholtz Association

December 19, 2017

French plasma physicist Dr. Pascale Hennequin is one of the five outstanding scientists now honoured by the Helmholtz Association with the Helmholtz International Fellow Award. The prize endowed will fund research visits to Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching.

The scientist proposed by IPP for this distinction is a plasma physicist at France’s Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, Ecole Polytechnique, at Palaiseau who is an internationally reputed specialist in the fields of plasma diagnostics and nonlinear plasma dynamics. Her research subject is turbulence in magnetically confined fusion plasmas. The small eddies involved can appreciably perturb confinement of plasma particles in the magnetic field and effect fast transport from the hot plasma core out into the cold regions at the edge. Controlling these processes calls for exact clarification of them.

For this purpose Pascale Hennequin developed measuring methods that allow observation of turbulence in plasma without contact by means of laser light or microwaves. In this way she was able to investigate plasma in various fusion devices, including TCV in Switzerland, Tore Supra in France and, since 2013 under the auspices of a Virtual Helmholtz Institute, ASDEX Upgrade in Garching. The results measured allow simulations of plasma turbulence to be tested. They will serve to predict plasma behaviour in large-scale devices such as the ITER international test reactor or a demonstration power plant.

Pascale Hennequin not only does research throughout Europe, but is also founder of a network linking numerous laboratories and university institutes. A national programme established by her coordinates all French fusion research activities concerning turbulence.

The award made by the Helmholtz Association is not only endowed with a prize of 20,000 euros but also covers invitations for research visits to IPP in order to intensify cooperation on ASDEX Upgrade.

The objective of fusion research is to develop a power plant favourable to the climate and environment. Like the sun it is to derive energy from fusion of atomic nuclei. As the fusion fire requires temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees to ignite, the fuel, viz. a low-density hydrogen plasma, ought not to make contact with the cold vessel walls. Confined by magnetic fields, it levitates inside a vacuum chamber with almost no contact.

The Helmholtz International Fellow Award honours outstanding research achievements and is intended to intensify international cooperation. Candidates are nominated by a Helmholtz centre or, in IPP’s case, by an institute affiliated with the Helmholtz Association, pursuing the same research objectives.

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