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Eye witness report from the Hands-On PlasmaLab@TU/e Course 2013, part 1

The students at the course work in groups. The first group of 5 students reports on their experience of the first day.


A Hands-On and Multilingual start

On Monday 12th of May, after a short introduction to the course we started working with plasma!

We started as a group of 5 students, from different backgrounds. Only one of us had ever worked with plasmas before, and neither of us had ever done any of the proposed experiments. We all found it interesting and constructive to work with people from different countries, although of course we had to overcome an initial language barrier.

Holger standing next to a device to study wave propagation in plasmas.

Paschen for Fusion

On the first day of work, we had to plot the Paschen curve - and see whether the experimentally determined curve would follow Paschen's Law - an equation that gives the breakdown voltage between two electrodes in a gas, as a function of pressure and gap length. After that, we were on to start working at achieving fusion reactions in a device called the Fusor. Since we weren't familiar with the equipment we found it quite hard at first, but... step-by-step, we started to understand how it worked and got better at sustaining the plasma.

Operating the Paschen Curve experiment

Labs more modern than lunch

Then at lunch-break, we found out the university was large enough to loose our way. Fortunately we made it to lunch in the end. A Dutch lunch, we were warned. And indeed, by now we all miss having hot meals for lunch, and found it very strange to drink milk while eating sandwitches! But on the up-side, we really did like the soups!

All in all, we had a good start of the Hands-On Course and are looking forward to getting to know each other better over the course of time. We all enjoyed the modern structure of the University and found the lab to be very well equipped. And not to forget, the hallway was also well equipped with a free vending machine: we are very thankful for all the free coffee and soup!

Arianna Renzini (Italy)
Holger Niemann (Germany)
Florent Derycke (France)
Viktoriia Kovalenko (Ukraine)
Oleksandr Balkashyn (Ukraine)

Operating the FarnsworthHirsch fusor in attempt to produce our first neutrons.