For the development of the new highly efficient 3-ion heating scenario for Ion Cyclotron Resonant Heating (ICRH), the American Physical Society (APS) awarded the joint team consisting of members of LPP/ERM-KMS and of the Alcator C-Mod group at MIT, with the prestigious Landau-Spitzer Award “for experimental verification, through collaborative experiments, of a novel and highly efficient ion cyclotron resonance heating scenario for plasma heating and generation of energetic ions in magnetic fusion devices.”
To show experimentally that the theoretically derived new ICRH scenario is indeed very efficient is the work of Yevgen Kazakov and Jef Ongena of LPP/ERM-KMS. First experimental successes were achieved in October 2015 on the tokamak Alcator C-Mod in collaboration with John Wright and Stephen Wukitch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Plasma Science and Fusion Center in Boston, USA. Further experiments were undertaken in the world largest tokamak JET in April 2016. in October 2017, the results were published in the internationally renowned scientific journal Nature Physics. The physical mechanisms that underpin this heating technique also provide a simple explanation for the existence of solar flares with a high 3He concentration.
This new ICRH scenario is especially important to validate that fast particles are well confined in the optimized stellarator W7-X, an important requirement in view of the development of a future helias type fusion reactor. The W7-X optimization holds at high beta (of a few %), i.e. at simultaneously high temperatures (several keV) and high plasma densities (~2 10^20m-3). Mimicking fast alpha particles in a future helias reactor translates in W7-X to creating a sufficiently large fast particle population with tail energies of 100-200 keV. The proposed scenario is able to do precisely this at the expected high densities, in contrast to more traditional heating ICRH heating schemes.
A musical impression of electromagnetic waves propagating and heating the plasma has been purposely composed for this occasion by Sven Faulconer, a Los Angeles based composer for the film and television industry, and son of our late and very much missed colleague David Faulconer.