Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (Greifswald)

Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (Greifswald)

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 Germany’s largest fusion device at present, ASDEX Upgrade. When ready, Wendelstein 7-X, now being built at the Greifswald branch, will be 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.


Wendelsteinstraße 1
17491 Greifswald
Phone: +49 3834 88-1000
Fax: +49 3834 88-2009

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.

Max-Planck-Princeton partnership in fusion research confirmed
Investigation of plasmas in astrophysics and fusion research / funding for another two to five years more
Research highlights from the Yearbook
Our Yearbook 2016 showcases the research carried out at the Max Planck Institutes. We selected a few reports to illustrate the variety and diversity of topics and projects. more
Start of scientific experimentation at the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device
Yearbook article 2016, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Greifswald
Authors: Thomas Klinger, Isabella Milch more
"We've come pretty far in plasma research"
Thomas Klinger, Director at the IPP, talks about the special features of the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator and its structure, and the prospects for the construction of a fusion power plant. more
First plasma generated in the Wendelstein 7-X
Greifswald fusion device now in operation more
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En route to electron-positron plasmas

2017 Horn-Stanja, Juliane
Particle Physics Plasma Physics Quantum Physics
A pair plasma consisting of electrons and positrons is of great interest both in basic plasma physics and in astrophysics. Here these plasmas are believed to exist in the vicinity of various astrophysical objects. Within the framework of the APEX project, a magnetically confined electron-positron plasma is to be generated in the laboratory for the first time. First positron experiments have already yielded important results. more

Start of scientific experimentation at the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device

2016 Klinger, Thomas; Milch, Isabella
Plasma Physics
Following nine years of construction work and one year of technical preparations and tests on 10 December 2015 the first helium plasma was produced in the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald. The first hydrogen plasma was to follow on 3 February 2016, this marking the start of scientific operation. Wendelstein 7-X, the world’s largest fusion device of the stellarator type, is to investigate this configuration’s suitability for use in a power plant. more

VINETA.II – Fundamental research on magnetic reconnection

2015 Grulke, Olaf
Astrophysics Plasma Physics
The experiment VINETA.II is designed for studies of magnetic reconnection. Due to the separation of plasma generation and reconnection drive a high degree of controllability and reproducibility is achieved. Special attention is paid to investigations of the spatial and temporal development of the reconnection current sheet on different scales. On the macroscopic scale the current sheet is mainly influenced by the geometry of the magnetic field. On the microscopic scale the current sheet develops turbulent fluctuations, which characteristics are determined by the electron dynamics. more

WEGA fusion experiment goes into retirement

2014 Wagner, Friedrich
Plasma Physics
After more then twelve years of research the small WEGA fusion device at IPP’s Greifswald branch end of 2013 has been shut down. The “Wendelstein training experiment at IPP Greifswald” is making room for the Wendelstein 7-X large-scale device, construction of which will be concluded this year. WEGA served as a training ground for students and junior scientists to bridge the gap till completion of Wendelstein 7-X. Inspite of its small dimensions WEGA achieved remarkable research results. more

A divertor for Wendelstein 7-X

2012 Pedersen, Thomas Sunn
Plasma Physics
The ultra-hot fusion plasma with extremely low density is confined in the fusion devices by magnetic forces without making contact with the vessel wall. The divertor is the only place in the plasma vessel that is touched by the plasma. For the Wendelstein 7-X research device, now being built at Greifswald, divertor components were developed that can permanently withstand the extremely high heat loads of 10 MW/ m2. more

WEGA the Test-Bed for new High Frequency Heating Methods

2011 Laqua, Heinrich; Otte, Matthias
Plasma Physics
WEGA is a classical stellarator, which is operated at the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik in Greifswald for educational training and basic research. New methods on the application of high frequency wave excitation, propagation and absorption at different frequencies are studied. For example a stationary plasma state was achieved which is characterized by a very high density and simultaneously a highly supra-thermal electron component. more

Transport Simulations for Wendelstein 7-X

2010 Maaßberg, Henning; Feng, Yühe; Geiger, Joachim; Turkin, Yuriy
Plasma Physics
Wendelstein 7-X, currently under construction at the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik in Greifswald, is a highly optimised stellarator. Within the rather flexible magnetic configuration space of Wendelstein 7-X, the different optimisation criteria are confirmed by predictive transport simulations, which can also contribute to the design and control of plasma discharges in the later experiments. more

Microwave heating for steady state fusion devices

2009 Erckmann, Volker
Plasma Physics
The development of stationary plasma operation scenarios is of utmost importance in next step devices in view of a future fusion power station. A necessary prerequisite is a stationary magnetic field configuration, a continuously operating heating system and a stationary energy and particle control. Among the different heating methods heating with strong microwaves is attractive with respect to physics capabilities and technological properties. The most powerful microwave plant with steady state capability is presently under construction for the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator at the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik (IPP) Greifswald. more
Stellarators are characterised by a complex three-dimensional structure, distinguishing them from other toroidal magnetic confinement concepts. The investigation of instabilities, especially micro instabilities, and their development into turbulence is not well understood for stellarators. It is particularly interesting if turbulence in stellarators is different from those in other confinement configurations and if a manipulation by optimisation of the magnetic structure is possible. In the following, numerical simulations of the ion-temperature driven instability in the plasma core and of turbulence in the plasma edge for Wendelstein 7-X will be presented. more
At the Greifswald Branch of IPP the linear plasma generator VINETA (Versatile Instrument for Studies on Nonlinearity, Electromagnetism, Turbulence and Application) is operated to study the basic dynamics of a magnetised plasma, i.e. the behaviour of plasmas waves, turbulence and instabilities as well as basic questions of plasma edge physics. VINETA allows one to establish precisely the respective plasma modi and to conduct detailed experimental investigations. more

First Components for Wendelstein 7-X

2004 Wanner, Manfred
Plasma Physics
Wendelstein 7-X - when ready, the world’s largest fusion device of the stellarator type - is aimed at investigating the suitability of this concept for a power plant. With discharges lasting up to 30 minutes it is to demonstrate the essential property of stellarators, the capability of continuous operation. The first major components for the device have been delivered to IPP: two magnet coils, the first plasma vessel segments, vessel ports and two microwave transmitter for the plasma heating. more
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