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Magnetic confinement and MHD of fusion plasmas

This course treats a phenomenological description and a self-consistent MHD description of fusion plasmas and their confinement.


This lecture course presents the principles of magnetic confinement in fusion reactors starting with Coulomb collisions of charged particles and how this leads to the need for confining the energy and the introduction of the “ignition criterion”. Using the magnetic configuration of a tokamak, this confinement can be achieved. This has two aspects: balancing the plasma pressure with magnetic fields to create an equilibrium and simultaneously reducing the radial collisional transport of particles and energy from the plasma. The principles are introduced by means of the single charged particle motion in magnetic fields. Then the different magnetic fields (and the coils generating them) of the tokamak are presented, as well as its operating principles in order to create a plasma equilibrium.

After this phenomenological description, several lectures are devoted to the self-consistent MHD description of the plasma and its magnetic fields. Both equilibrium and (in)stability are discussed.

Finally the transport of energy and particles (the actual confinement) is introduced with a focus on the self-consistent neoclassical transport theory. For turbulent transport the principles are presented, as well as the scaling laws and the methods to suppress turbulence.

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Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands