PhD thesis awarded prize

Award of the European Physical Society goes to IPP scientist

March 30, 2009

This year the PhD Research Award presented by the Plasma Physics Division of the European Physical Society goes to Dr. Tilmann Lunt from Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching. The work for his PhD thesis was done at the research facility of IPP’s Berlin group, on the PSI-2 plasma generator. Here the experimental physicist applied an optical measuring method, laser-induced fluorescence, to obtain an exact analysis of the flow behaviour of plasma impinging on surfaces. His investigations provide information on, for example, energy transfer from the plasma edge to the walls of the enclosing vessel. They are also of fundamental importance for interpreting data measured with electric probes, which are frequently used for plasma analysis.

The objective of fusion research is to develop a power plant deriving energy from fusion of light atomic nuclei. For this purpose one has to succeed in confining the fuel – a low-density ionised hydrogen gas, called plasma – in magnetic fields with virtually no contact with the enclosing walls. In this respect Tilmann Lunt’s results are very important for modelling the so-called divertor, a component present in all modern fusion devices. It controls the interaction of the magnetically confined plasma with the surrounding walls. This component is also to be incorporated in the ITER international test reactor, now being built at Cadarache in France.

Tilmann Lunt and two other prizewinners will each receive a thousand euros with their prizes at the Conference of the European Physical Society in Sofia in June 2009.

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