Experimental plasma physics to advance the scientific and
technical basis for magnetic fusion energy

Our groups in the Department of Engineering Physics carry out research activities to advance the scientific and technical basis for magnetic fusion energy. Faculty and staff supervise thesis research for 20+ current graduate students, and our groups recruit motivated graduate students every year. Our research activities on the UW-Madison campus and at international-class facilities around the world include:

  • Non-inductive startup techniques (e.g. DC helicity injection, radiofrequency electron heating, poloidal field induction) on the Pegasus-III spherical torus device
  • Investigation of ion gyro-scale turbulent instabilities and dynamics with 2D Beam Emission Spectroscopy measurements on DIII-D, NSTX-U, and HL-2A
  • Impact of 3D plasma boundaries on the plasma-material interface in combination with detached plasma regimes
  • Turbulent impurity transport in 3D magnetic topologies on HSX and W7-X
  • Understanding core-edge coupling through the self-consistent feedback loop between plasma-wall interaction, edge and core plasma transport, and stability of 3D W7-X equilibria
  • Local electric and magnetic field fluctuation measurements in fusion-grade plasmas with spatial heterodyne spectroscopy
  • ELM control with optimized non-axisymmetric 3D fields at KSTAR
  • Non-inductive current drive with helicon waves at DIII-D
  • “Edge ML” for real-time Beam Emission Spectroscopy data reduction and featurization with high-throughput FPGAs at DIII-D
  • Development of the multi-spectral imaging and gas puff imaging diagnostic systems at the TCV tokamak to investigate boundary, scrape-off layer, and divertor physics issues
  • Understanding the formation and tuning of the plasma column in the AWAKE plasma-based particle accelerator
  • Learn more about our research »

Other organizations in Engineering Physics that pursue fusion energy research are the Fusion Technology Institute and the Center for Plasma Theory and Computation.