ED3320 Fusion Research 8.0 credits


This course will give a deeper understanding of the physics of magnetic fusion. This involves instabilities and active control in the tokamak and in other configurations, the physics of loss mechanisms and of fusion reactor power balance. Safety and environmental issues and the present state of inertial fusion research are reviewed. The student should be able to discuss the role of fusion in future energy production.

  • Education cycle

    Third cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    P, F

Information for research students about course offerings

The course is given when there is sufficient demand. Please contact the examiner if you are interested in taking the course.

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

Course main content

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. 


Discussion meetings.


Courses FED3210 and FED3230 (or corresponding) are prerequisites.

Recommended prerequisites

Courses FED3210 and FED3230 (or corresponding) are prerequisites.


Parts of the following literature, or similar:

  • J. Scheffel and P. Brunsell, Fusion Physics, KTH 2007.
  • J. P. Freidberg, Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy, 
  • Cambridge University Press 2007.
  • J. Wesson, Tokamaks, Oxford University Press 2004.
  • W. M. Stacey, Fusion Plasma Physics, Wiley 2005.
  • A. A. Harms et.al., Principles of Fusion Energy, World Scientific, 2000.
  • S. Pfalzner, An Introduction to Inertial Confinement Fusion, Taylor and Francis 2006.


  • EXA1 - Examination, 8.0, grading scale: P, F

Requirements for final grade

Final oral exam.

Offered by

EECS/Fusion Plasma Physics


Thomas Jonsson


Thomas Jonsson <johnso@kth.se>

Supplementary information

The course is taught as discussion meetings, for which the students have prepared themselves.

A final oral exam concludes the course.


Course syllabus valid from: Spring 2012.
Examination information valid from: Spring 2019.