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Fusion Research

Module PH2196

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2017

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018SS 2017SS 2015

Basic Information

PH2196 is a semester module in German or English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 75 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2196 in the version of SS 2017 was Sibylle Günter.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


The module gives an introduction into fusion research. The lecture starts with general information on the energy problem and the role of renewable energies, storage and baseload power in a future energy mix. Afterwards basic processes and key parameters of nuclear fusion will be discussed. Different concepts of magnetic confinement of fusion plasmas will be introduced, such as magnetic mirrors, pinches, tokamaks, and stellarators. Their properties will be studied with respect to stability, confinement quality and transport. The most important heating methods and diagnostics of fusion plasmas will be introduced and existing devices and recent scientific results will be presented. As part of the lecture a visit to the tokamak ASDEX  Upgrade at the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics is foreseen.

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module the student is able to

  1. explain the basic fusions processes and the required parameters to obtained a self-sustained burning fusion plasma
  2. explain basic principles of magnetic confinement of plasmas
  3. describe the main technical elements needed to construct a tokamak or a stellarator experiment as well as to describe the individual advantages and disadvantages of these concepts
  4. name and classify the most frequently observed instabilities of fusion plasmas
  5. describe heating methods and diagnostics of fusion plasmas
  6. discuss the processes leading to transport of heat and particles in plasmas confined in toroidal magnetic fields,


Lectures up to the Bachelor level. A previous attandence of a lecture on plasma physics would be beneficial.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Fusion Research Günter, S.
Assistants: Lauber, P.
Thu, 08:30–10:00, virtuell
UE 2 Exercise to Fusion Research Lauber, P.
Responsible/Coordination: Günter, S.
dates in groups documents

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lecture with ppt presentation, movies and black board, in parallel seminars and group work to discuss the issues brought up in the lecture


Exercises, internet pages, additional literature


  • U. Stroth, Plasmaphysik, Phänomene, Grundlagen, Anwendungen, VIEWEG+TEUBNER Press, New York", Wiesbaden 2011
  • M. Kaufmann, Plasmaphysik und Fusionsforschung. Eine Einführung, Teubner, 2003
  • J. Wesson, Tokamaks, Clarendon Press, Oxford 2011
  • R.J. Goldston, P.H. Rutherford, "Plasmaphysik. Eine Einführung", Vieweg 1998, ISBN: 3-528-06884-1,

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 25 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions and sample calculations.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • list varios fusion reactions and explain the plasma parameters to be achieved
  • Discuss the various confinement configurations such as magnetic mirrors, tokamaks and stellarators
  • What determines the radial transport in tokamak and stellarator plasmas

Participation in the exercise classes is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

There will be a bonus (one intermediate stepping of "0,3" to the better grade) on passed module exams (4,3 is not upgraded to 4,0). The bonus is applicable to the exam period directly following the lecture period (not to the exam repetition) and subject to the condition that the student passes the mid-term of successful presentation of the solution of a problem in the tutorials

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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