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.


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 more
Department Stellerator Edge and Divertor Physics more
Department Tokamak Edge and Divertor Physics more
Department Stellarator Optimisation more
Department Tokamak Scenario Development more
Max-Planck-Princeton partnership in fusion research confirmed
Investigation of plasmas in astrophysics and fusion research / funding for another two to five years more
Angela Merkel switches on Wendelstein 7-X fusion device
Experimental operation of the fusion reactor type stellarator kicks off with festive ceremony more
Official ceremony on February 3, 2016 / Livestream more
Wendelstein 7-X on the home stretch
In Greifswald, preparations are underway to put the world’s largest stellarator into operation more
New Max Planck Princeton Partnership in fusion research
The Max Planck Society is strengthening its commitment to the development of a sustainable energy supply and has joined forces with internationally renowned Princeton University to establish the Max Planck Princeton Research Center for Plasma Physics. more
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.
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On the way to a virtual fusion plasma

2018 Jenko, Frank
Particle Physics Plasma Physics Quantum Physics
In addition to large experimental equipment, computer simulations on supercomputers have been playing an increasingly important role in fusion research in recent years. By combining tailored physical models with state-of-the-art numerical methods, it is possible to solve the complex basic equations of plasma physics on some of the world's most powerful computers. Thus, many important individual aspects of plasma dynamics can already be described quantitatively today. more

Experiments with the manipulator system DIM-II in the divertor of ASDEX Upgrade

2017 Herrmann, Albrecht; Krieger, Karl
Particle Physics Plasma Physics Quantum Physics
By means of the so-called divertor – specially equipped and cooled plates at the bottom of the plasma vessel to which particles are deflected from the edge of the plasma – a part of the generated fusion energy is dissipated in a later fusion power plant. With the Divertor Manipulator DIM-II, this concept is prepared at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device. With DIM-II, parts of the divertor can be examined and replaced without opening the plasma vessel. This allows for investigation of plasma-material interactions at the divertor plates as well as for concept studies for actively cooled plates. more

Structure-preserving numerics in plasma physics

2016 Kraus, Michael
Plasma Physics
Many properties of a plasma that are not, or not in detail, experimentally accessible can be systematically investigated only in computer simulations. Many codes, however, use numerical methods that insufficiently take into account important properties of mathematical equations. This results in important phenomena not being reproduced in simulations. So-called structure-preserving integration methods could be the remedy. These combine ideas from numerics, physics, and geometry and allow more realistic simulations than classical methods. more

Development of bolometers for ITER

2015 Meister, Hans
Plasma Physics
Special requirements have to be met in developing diagnostics for the ITER international experimental reactor, which is to produce an ignited, energy-yielding plasma. The bolometers – radiation detectors for measuring light ranging from radiant heat to X-rays, emerging from the ITER plasma – are being developed at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching. more
Tokamaks can provide excellent confinement and high kinetic pressure of fusion plasmas due to an axisymmetric magnetic field. However, strong pressure gradients at the plasma edge cause repetitive instabilities leading to expulsion of hot plasma towards the surrounding wall. This instability is studied in detail at the tokamak ASDEX Upgrade. It has been found that the fast power loss from the plasma and the associated high peak power load onto the wall can be reduced by a small dedicated non-axisymmetric magnetic perturbation without compromising the favourable confinement properties.

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