The theory group at SPC is dedicated to the understanding of fundamental physical phenomena taking place in fusion plasmas. This understanding is essential in order to provide an interpretation of the experimental results from current fusion experiments and offer suggestions to improve current and future devices.
A plasma is an extremely complex medium, characterized by phenomena that occur on a extremely wide range of temporal and spatial scales, which are all nonlinearly coupled. Consequently, plasmas are typically turbulent, and made much more complex than in standard neutral fluids because of the interaction with electric and magnetic fields.
Understanding and simulating plasma behavior is thus extremely challenging. To get insight into the plasma dynamics advanced analytic theories are necessary, together with state-of-the-art scientific codes developed at our center or within international collaborations and running on some of the most powerful computers.
Theory and numerical modeling activities at SPC cover the following main areas of research:
  • First principle based simulations of plasma turbulence
  • MHD analysis of tokamak instabilities
  • MHD analysis of 3D magnetic confinement configurations
  • Study of the plasma dynamics at the edge of fusion devices
  • Modeling of experimental results
Thanks to the on-site presence of the TCV tokamak and of the basic plasma physics experiment TORPEX, and benefitting from the stimulating EPFL academic environment, the theory group is playing a leading role in the advancement of our understanding of the plasma dynamics.