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FED3320 Fusion Research 8.0 credits

Course memo Spring 2020-1

Version 1 – 06/07/2021, 3:25:06 PM

Course offering

Spring 2020-1 (Start date 15/01/2020, English)

Language Of Instruction


Offered By

EECS/Fusion Plasma Physics

Course memo Spring 2020-1

Course presentation

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Fusion reactions. Fusion in nature. Future energy demands. Energy alternatives. Fusion history. Different approaches to fusion. The Lawson criterion. Breakeven, ignition. Quality parameters of the fusion plasma. Fusion reactor power balance and thermal stability. Heating of fusion plasmas. The Energy principle applied to different configurations. Tokamak stability; MHD and non-MHD modes. Resistive instabilities. Resistive wall modes and feedback control. Density and beta limits. Edge localized mode (ELM), multi-faceted asymmetric radiation from the edge (MARFE). Fishbones. Disruptions. Confinement modes and energy confinement scaling laws. Reversed shear scenarios. Characteristics of different magnetic confinement schemes. Spherical and compact tokamaks. RFP and stellarator stability. Reactor design and reactor studies. ITER design. Magnetized target fusion. Inertial fusion; direct and indirect drive, fast ignition, the large experiments NIF and LMJ. Safety and environmental aspects of fusion. Fusion research at KTH and at different experiments in the world. 

Intended learning outcomes

When completing the course, the student should be able to

  • Give an account of fusion reactions and conditions for fusion energy production
  • Explain different experimental approaches to fusion
  • Discuss reactor power balance and thermal stability
  • Derive and discuss MHD tokamak instabilities from the Energy principle
  • Give an account of current stability issues for tokamaks
  • Assess confinement and experimental confinement scalings
  • Discuss limits of operations for magnetic fusion devices
  • Discuss the value of non-tokamak aproaches to magnetic fusion
  • Give an account of important experiments around the world
  • Explain the basic principles of inertial fusion and the status of research
  • Give an account of the safety and environmental aspects of fusion
  • Discuss the motivation for fusion energy research in a global perspective

Preparations before course start

Recommended prerequisites

Courses FED3210 and FED3230 (or corresponding) are prerequisites.

Specific preparations

Each week of the course will assess different ILOs according to the following table:


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6









Week 1:

  • Future energy demands
  • Energy alternatives.
  • Fusion reactions: in nature and in a reactor
  • Fusion history
  • Different approaches to fusion

Week 2:

  • The Lawson criteria.
  • Breakeven and ignition.
  • Fusion reactor power balance and thermal stability
  • Heating of a fusion plasmas
  • Quality parameters of the fusion plasma and dimensionless parameters (physical meaning and exact mathematical definitions)
  • Scaling laws for the global confinement. H98.

Week 3

  • Magnetic configurations (description, advantages, limitations):
  • Tokamak
  • RFP
  • Spherical tokamak
  • Stellarator
  • Other configuration systems

Week 4

  • The energy principle applied to different configurations
  • Stability
  • MHD and non-MHD modes
  • Tearing modes and neoclassical tearing modes. Their control.
  • Resistive instabilities
  • Resistive wall modes and feedback control in tokamak and RFPs
  • Density limit and beta limit
  • Edge localized modes.
  • Fishbones

Week 5

  • Confinement regimes in tokamak: L-mode, H-mode, L-H transition
  • Different region in a H-mode plasma:
  • Core transport: neoclassical transport and turbulent transport
  • Pedestal: stability and the role of transport
  • Scrape-off layer: the different regimes
  • Disruptions: description and technique for avoidance/mitigation

Week 6

  • Reactor design and reactor studies. Safety, environmental and economic aspects of a fusion reactor.
  • ITER design
  • Inertial fusion
  • A brief account of Fusion at KTH, fusion in Sweden and experiments in the world.


Most of the material is discussed in the following book:

  • Kikuchi, K.Lackner and Minh Quang Tran, Fusion Physics, IAEA 2012

The following book covers as well a large part of the course. The on-line version can be found on KTH Library website ( if you have a KTH account:

  • M. Stacey, Fusion Plasma Physics, Wiley 2005
  • P. Freidberg, Plasma Physics and fusion energy, Cambridge University Press 2007

Other useful books are the following:

  • Scheffel and P. Brunsell, Fusion Physics, KTH 2007
  • Wesson, Tokamaks, Oxfrod University Press 2004
  • A. Harms et al., Principles of Fusion Energy, World Scientific, 2000
  • Pfalzner, An Introduction to inertial confinement Fusion, Taylor and Francis 2006

Examination and completion

Grading scale

P, F


  • EXA1 - Examination, 8.0 credits, Grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

(Section below is not part of the syllabus)

Examination ( EXA1 )

The pass the course course, students needs to fulfill all the ILOs. Each week of the course tests several ILOs (see the the Section Intended Learning Outcomes).

The ILOs are tested either via oral presentation or via a written report:

  • Oral presentations. Each student will have to prepare two oral presentations (see the schedule). The presentation has to have the style of a lecture 1 hour long (if necessary you can exceed by 15min). If the presentation is clear, correct and covers the key topics of the week, the student will fulfill the corresponding ILOs. After the presentation, we will have a discussion with questions from the audience (i.e. the teacher and the other students). The plan is to have a discussion approximately 1h long.
  • Written report. Each student will have to prepare four written reports. The reports needs to have the style of a conference paper (with figures, captions and references), and to be between 4 and 8 pages. The report needs to be consistent with the template, see Appendix 1. Feel free to use Latex.

The written report is expected only for the weeks in which the student has not prepared the oral presentation. To fulfill the corresponding ILOs, the report needs to clear, well written, correct and needs to cover all the main topics of the week. If the report will not fulfill these requirements, the student will need to improve it by implementing the teacher’s feedback.



  • Oral presentation. The slides need to be sent to the course responsible a minimum of two weeks before the presentation. The student is expected to implement the feedback received by the teacher. Note that more one iteration might be possible.
  • Written report. No strict deadline. However, for each report, you need to expect at least 1 week before you will receive feedback. If you send me all together the four reports at the end of the course, expect at least 1 month before receiving feedback.

Other requirements for final grade

Final oral exam.

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

No information inserted

Round Facts

Offered By

EECS/Fusion Plasma Physics

Language Of Instruction


Course offering

Spring 2020-1 (Start date 15/01/2020, English)