I’m Maximilian Messmer, a Ph.D. student of the Fusion research group at TU/e since the beginning of 2015. My research goal is the determination and control of the q-profile using Motional Stark Effect (MSE) spectroscopy at the KSTAR tokamak located in Daejeon, South Korea.
Before starting my Ph.D. I studied applied physics at the University of Technology Dresden, writing my masters thesis on laser guiding in capillary discharge waveguides. After the first month working in the lab it was clear that an university is the perfect working environment for me, providing great freedom in research and a good mix between experimental and theoretical work. The choice to pursue a Ph.D. in nuclear fusion was easy as I believe it is one of the most exciting and challenging topics of our time, offering all the possibilities and opportunities one desires. Even though the research has been going on for over 50 years, many open questions remain in the quest for commercial applicable energy production. For future fusion reactors, knowledge of the safety factor (a dimensionless parameter defined by the magnetic field structure in the plasma) is of essence. It gives the power plant operator crucial information about the stability of the device and if controlled can significantly increase the fusion power output. However, the determination of the safety factor is not an easy task and is only possible through optical spectroscopy. In collaboration with the KSTAR tokamak, we have successfully built a MSE diagnostic and can accurately determine the magnetic field structure of a discharge. As a next step, it is planned to speed-up the evaluation speed of the analysis to evaluate the safety factor in real-time before trying to control it for increased stability and fusion power output.
We are always looking for bright, interested new faces in the fusion group. If the description of my research captured your interest, please feel free to contact me for bachelor or master projects.