Nuclear fusion and plasma physics
Weekly outline

Welcome to the Nuclear Fusion and Plasma Physics course of EPFL.
 Where: INR 219, EPFL
 When: 13:00 15:00, Every Monday
 Exercise session: 15:00 17:00 Every Monday
The links to the YouTube video lectures from the year 2021 will be made available after each class for reference purposes or as a backup in the event that a class is missed. However, it is important to note that the most uptodate information will be presented during the class, and attendance is highly recommended. This year’s lectures will not be recorded unless there is a change in guidelines. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
* The lecture notes and exercises associated with each lecture will be available on Moodle before the class. The solutions to the exercise will be available after the exercise session.
Summary
The course aims to provide the physics and technology basis for controlled fusion research, from the main elements of plasma physics to the reactor concepts.
Course details:
Language
English
Credits
4
Session
Winter
Semester
Fall
Exam
Oral
Workload
120 hours
Weeks
14
Hours
4h/week (Lecture 2h, Exercise 2h)
Content
1) Basics of thermonuclear fusion
2) The plasma state and its collective effects
3) Charged particle motion and collisional effects
4) Fluid description of a plasma
5) Plasma equilibrium and stability
6) Magnetic confinement: Tokamak and Stellarator
7) Waves in plasma
8) Waveparticle interactions
9) Heating and noninductive currentdrive by radiofrequency waves
10) Plasma wall interaction and structural materials
11) Applied superconductivity for fusion
12) Some nuclear aspects of a fusion reactor: Tritium production
13) Licensing a fusion reactor: safety, nuclear waste
14) Recap of the course and Q & A session
Learning Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of electricity and magnetism, and simple concepts of fluids
Learning Outcomes: By the end of the course, the student must be able to:
 Design the main elements of a fusion reactor
 Understand the fundamental physics of magnetically confined fusion reactor
 Identify the main physics challenges on the way to fusion
 Identify the main technological challenges of fusion
Teaching methods: Ex cathedra and inclass exercises
Assessment method: Oral exam (100%) The exam will be based on a list of questions, divided into three groups.
 On the day of the exam, half an hour before the actual exam, we will propose you two questions from each group (chosen randomly).
 You will choose one of the two questions from each group and have half an hour to prepare, using whatever material you find helpful.
 Then, you will come to the board (without any notes), and we will discuss together the three questions you have chosen for half an hour.
Recommended Bibliography
The asterisk (*) indicates books that contain exercisesPlasma Formulary
MOOC selfpaced course links
 Plasma Introduction course:
 Plasma Application course:
General Plasma Physics F. F. Chen, Introduction to Plasma Physics, 2nd edition, Plenum Press, 1984*
 T. J. M. Boyd and J. J. Sanderson, The physics of Plasmas, Cambridge University Press, 2003*
 P. M. Bellan, Fundamentals of Plasma Physics, Cambridge University Press, 2006*
 D.A. Gurnett and A. Bhattacharjee, Introduction to Plasma Physics, Cambridge University Press, 2005*
 D.R. Nicholson, Introduction to Plasma Theory, Jon Wiley & Sons, 1983*
 N.A. Krall, and A.W. Trivelpiece, Principles of Plasma Physics, McGrawHill, 1973*
 J. Freidberg, Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy, Cambridge University Press, 2007*
 J. Wesson, Tokamaks  Third Edition, Clarendon Press  Oxford, 2004
 J. Freidberg, Ideal Magnetohydrodynamics, Plenum Press, 1987*
 I. H. Hutchinson, Principles of Plasma Diagnostics, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2002*
 M. A. Lieberman and A. J. Lichtenberg, "Principles of Plasma Discharges and Materials Processing", (John Wiley and Sons, Second Edition, Hoboken, New Jersey), 2005*
 F. F. Chen and J. P. Chang, "Lecture Notes on Principles of Plasma Processing" (Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, New York), 2003*
 Y. P. Raizer, "Gas Discharge Physics", (Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg), 1991
Plasma Astrophysics
 E. Priest and T. Forbes, Magnetic reconnection: MHD theory and applications, Cambridge University Press, 2000*
 N. MyerVernet, Basics of the Solar Wind, Cambridge Atmospheric and Space Science Series, 2012*
 Peter V. Foukal, Wiley, Solar Astrophysics, June 14, 1990
 P.A. Davidson, An introduction to magnetohydrodynamics, Cambridge University Press, 2001*
 D.H. Hathaway, The solar cycle, Living Rev. Solar Phys. 7 (2010), 1
 C.K. Birdsall and A.B. Langdon, Plasma Physics via Computer Simulations, McGrawHill, 1985*
 R.W. Hockney and J.W. Eastwood, Computer simulations using particles, Adam Hilger, 1988
 Where: INR 219, EPFL