Space, and Fusion Plasma
How does space function, how is energy transferred between different areas out there and how can we use the knowledge to develop sustainable sources of energy? This is a small part of what these two fields of research entail. In the long-term space research might play an important role in predicting the sun’s activity and ”the weather” in space, which is important both for the survival of astronauts and for the reliability of high-technology systems on earth.
Electrophysics, also called plasma physics, is the common denominator for Fusion Plasma Physics and Space and Plasma Physics. Plasma is the fourth state of matter and is present in many forms on earth and in space.
Fusion plasma physics
We now know that fossil fuels have to be replaced with other sources of energy in the future. Sweden and KTH EE occupy an important international role within the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) in the development of fusion, a source of energy which, along with renewable forms of energy, can provide clean and sustainable energy for the foreseeable future. Our researchers are working experimentally, theoretically and numerically in projects related to the full-scale international facility ITER, which will be commissioned in France in around 2020.
Space and plasma physics
Here researchers study how space and the earth’s surroundings function. By collecting data from satellites and visualising it as images in authentic or false colours, spectrograms or time series, increased understanding is gradually being built up of what is happening in space and how, for example, energy is transferred between different areas. It is contributing to satisfying human curiosity about our place in the cosmos, and in the long-term space research might play an important role in predicting the sun’s activity and ”the weather” in space, which is important both for the survival of astronauts and for the reliability of high-technology systems on earth.
Examples of research
In the Nordic region’s only fusion facility, Extrap T2R at KTH EE, our fusion researchers are focusing on developing methods to actively control plasma instabilities in real time. The research is taking place in collaboration with the RFX experiment in Italy, and has major significance for controlling plasma in fusion facilities in the future. Research is taking place within magnetic confinement in close cooperation with what is currently the largest fusion experiment, JET in England.
Plasma-wall interaction has become an important field that comprises all processes involved in the exchange of mass and energy between plasma and surrounding wall materials. This interdisciplinary field is essential for interrelated aspects of fusion reactor operation including economy and safety. In particular, the group studies the lifetimes of plasma-facing materials and components, tritium inventory issues and the physics of dust formation.
- Measurements in Space. KTH EE is a part of Swedish space research and is an active participant in European and global programmes. For example, our researchers and engineers construct instruments for measurements in space. The instruments are then transported in space probes or satellites under the control of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA), ESA (European Space Agency) or JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). Around our own planet the projects often comprise multiple satellites for simultaneous measurements at several points with the aim of studying dynamic phenomena, while probes to other planets are of a more exploratory character. Laboratory experiments are sometimes carried out in connection with the space instruments and analysis of data in order to enable a more in-depth understanding of what the measurements represent.
Collaborations/projects in the areas
Professor of Fusion
+46 (0)8-790 8939
Space and Plasma Physics
Professor of Space and Plasma Physics