Research activities

The expertise of the Laboratory for Plasma Physics is concentrated primarily in the domain of Ion Cyclotron Resonance Heating (ICRH). The laboratory is world renowned for the design of ICRH antennas. Research is conducted both in the experimental and in the theoretical domain. Theoretical studies evolve around the development of codes to design and simulate ICRH antennas operating under different scenarios and to quantify the actual heating of the plasma. Experimental studies are centered mainly on four machines, ITER, JET, Textor and Magnum PSI.

Through its proposal in 2003 of an ITER ICRH launcher with an external matching system, LPP-ERM/KMS signalled a strong commitment to ITER. In April 2007, the ITER Working Group on Heating and Current Drive (WGHCD) recommended that the reference design for ICRH on ITER should be based on the LPP-ERM/KMS proposal. Our ITER effort over the last years aimed, in close collaboration with UKAEA, ORNL (US) and ITER IT, at further verifying ITER’s functional requirements and at implementing additional recommendations of the WGHCD.

LPP-ERM/KMS is the lead Association in the JET Enhanced Performance project aiming at constructing and commissioning a JET ITER-like ICRH antenna, capable of delivering multi-second pulses at 8 MW/m² power flux combined with adequate ELM resilience under H-mode conditions. The antenna is now installed in JET and is the subject of an intensive commissioning and exploitation phase since March 2008.

The TEXTOR experiment was closed in december 2013 after being at the centre of the work, preoccupation and care of our laboratory for 30 years. We are now preparing an historical retrospective of those 30 years that will be available soon here

Currently LPP-ERM/KMS is developing an ICRH antenna for the stellerator W7-X. The main aim of the ICRH system for W7-X is generating fast ions (with energies of ~ 60-80 keV) in order to demonstrate that a stellarator is able to confine this kind of fast particles. In addition, the antenna also provides a heating and current drive tool for short periods, complementing the steady-state ECRH-system. The system can also serve as an Ion Cyclotron Wall Conditioning (ICWC) system.

LPP-ERM/KMS is involved in the development of an RF heating system for the TEC Magnum-PSI facility at FOM-Rijnhuizen. The modeling of power coupling with waveguides, in the GHz range, indicates that effective heating around the lower hybrid resonance is possible. First estimates have been made of the RF power dissipation in the MAGNUM vacuum chamber.

On the theory side LPP-ERM/KMS has developed simulation codes in-house to describe ICRH heating in hot plasmas. The full-wave code CYRANO, which includes second order finite Larmor radius corrections, has been coupled to the quasi-linear Fokker-Planck code BATCH. Self-consistent studies of wave propagation and absorption are now possible.
The ANTITER code together with the commercial package CST MWS ® are heavily used in the antenna design.

Full references to our work can be found in the list of publications of LPP-ERM/KMS.