Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics

Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics

The researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics want to fetch the Sun's fire to Earth. A future fusion power plant is to produce energy by fusing nuclei of the two heavy hydrogen isotopes, viz. deuterium and tritium, to form helium. The fusion fire is brought to ignition in a plasma with a temperature of over 100 million degrees Celsius, that is confined within a magnetic field preventing contact with the vessel wall. The ITER international test reactor is to demonstrate that the reaction yields more energy than is required to attain the high ignition temperature. Research scientists are investigating devices of various types and the processes occurring in them. In operation at Garching is the ASDEX Upgrade tokamak, at the Greifswald branch Wendelstein 7-X, the world’s largest fusion device of the stellarator type. Experiment and theory at these sites are concerned with investigating how the fusion conditions can be realised with the greatest efficiency. Last but not least, IPP is also studying the socio-economic conditions under which nuclear fusion could contribute to the energy mix of the future.

Contact

Boltzmannstr. 2
85748 Garching
Phone: +49 89 3299-01
Fax: +49 89 3299-2200

PhD opportunities

This institute has no International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS).

There is always the possibility to do a PhD. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Department Stellarator Scenario Development

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Department Tokamak Edge and Divertor Physics

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Department Stellarator Optimisation

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Department Tokamak Scenario Development

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The Joint European Torus generates 69 megajoules of energy from 0.2 milligrams of fuel - as much as is set free by burning two kilgrams of coal

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The Vice Presidents of the Max Planck Society: Asifa Akhtar, Claudia Felser, Christian Doeller and Sibylle Günter (from top left to bottom right).

The new team of Vice-Presidents includes three women. This means women now hold the majority on the Executive Committee

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The Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) was the victim of a cyberattack via the destructive malware EMOTET on 12 June 2022

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A bright reddish glowing plasma in a dark, ring-shaped plasma vessel.

European joint experiment prepares transition to large-scale ITER project

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On 21 March 1991, the Asdex Upgrade experimental facility at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching generated the first plasma

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The National Ignition Facility in the USA announced a breakthrough in fusion research in December 2022. Nuclear fusion offers the promise of a clean and practically inexhaustible source of energy. The Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics is also working on ways to harness this. The institute’s scientific director, Sibylle Günter, and director emeritus, Karl Lackner, share insights into where some of the public and private fusion projects stand – and how they compare to the concepts their institute is researching.

Science without computers? Unthinkable, nowadays! Yet over half a century ago, that was commonplace. Then, in the early 1950s, mathematician and physicist Heinz Billing entered the scene - and introduced the Max Planck Society to electronic computing. It all started with the "Göttingen 1."

To consolidate the scientific basis for a fusion reactor – this was Sibylle Günter’s objective when she took up her post as Scientific Director of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics. But ever since the German government renounced nuclear fission, nuclear fusion has also had a difficult time politically.

Mechanical Engineer for Neutral Beam Ion Source (m/f/d)

Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Garching June 14, 2024

Postdoctoral Researcher (m/f/d) - Mathematics, Physics or Computational Science

Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Garching April 24, 2024

Nuclear fusion: How the plasma edge can be cooled in a controlled manner

2023 Stroth, Ulrich

Particle Physics Plasma Physics Quantum Physics

Fusion plasmas generate such intense heat that the walls of the surrounding vacuum vessel could be damaged. However, a newly discovered physical phenomenon, known as the X-point emitter, offers a promising method for significantly reducing this thermal load in future fusion reactors. Additionally, plasmas formed using this technique exhibit other advantageous properties.

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Efficient algorithms for high-energy plasma particles

2021 Possanner, Stefan; Sonnendrücker, Eric

Plasma Physics

Energetic particles in plasmas are often the cause of interesting wave-particle interactions that fundamentally influence the stability of the plasma. In fusion plasmas enclosed by magnetic fields, for example, they can excite special forms of oscillation; the solar wind hitting the Earth's atmosphere can generate chorus waves. We are developing novel numerical methods to simulate such phenomena, combining efficient fluid models to describe the wave with more elaborate kinetic models to describe the particles.

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Virtual experiments on edge instabilities in fusion plasmas

2020 Cathey, Andres; Hölzl, Matthias; Günter, Sibylle

Plasma Physics

The aim of fusion research is to use fusion of light atomic nuclei to generate energy in a power plant. A number of problems remain to be solved on this way, including understanding or control of large-scale plasma instabilities. These include Edge-Localized Modes, periodic instabilities at the plasma edge that can eject ten percent of the plasma energy in less than a millisecond. In numerical simulations, it has now been possible for the first time to calculate their full non-linear dynamics over several cycles, thereby reproducing most experimental observations.

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Tailor-made power removal for future fusion power plants

2019 Stroth, Ulrich; Wischmeier, Marco

Plasma Physics

Transferring extreme powers from the hot plasma of a future fusion power plant to the surrounding material surfaces in a gentle manner is a central challenge for science. For this purpose, in experiments at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device in Garching and JET in Culham/Great Britain, suitable plasma scenarios were developed. In those scenarios, the specific contamination of the hydrogen plasma by addition of impurity atoms plays an important role.

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Optimised radio-wave heating for fusion plasmas

2018 Noterdaeme, Jean-Marie; Bobkov, Volodymyr

Plasma Physics

A proven method of heating plasmas in fusion devices to many millions of degrees is to beam in radio waves of ion cyclotron frequency. This heating method, however, has involved disadvantages in plasma vessels with metal walls, as envisaged for a future power plant. The antenna beaming the waves into the plasma has now been successfully optimised to make radio-wave heating compatible with metallic walls.

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