Ralf Mackenbach is a doctoral candidate at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His research activities are in the field of magnetically confined nuclear fusion, with a focus on understanding plasma turbulence in stellarators. Plasma turbulence is a hairy subject, which is hard to grasp even in simplified scenarios. Understanding how turbulent plasmas affect transport in exotic stellarator geometries has thus proven to be a difficult undertaking. It is however an important one to investigate, as turbulent transport is one of the main hurdles in the way of achieving viable stellarator power plants. In his research, Ralf Mackenbach focusses on using a novel measure to quantify the amount of turbulence in a given stellarator plasma (coined available energy). This measure is being validated as a useful measure for turbulent transport by means of analytical verification, and by comparing it against simulations. Finally, if the measure is indeed a good proxy for turbulent transport one can implement it into an optimisation routine to find stellarators which are minimise turbulent transport.

Stellarator physics is an exciting field where one can work on fundamental research, such as turbulence, with the tangible goal of building a viable reactor. I'm excited to be a part of this field.


Ralf Mackenbach holds an MSc degree in the Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion from the Eindhoven University of Technology in 2019. During his Masters, he gained experience in international research environments. Working both on numerical and analytical studies, Ralf has been an active researcher at the National Institute for Fusion Science in Japan and at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Research activities as a doctoral candidate (and part of EUROfusion research programs) will be conducted at both Eindhoven, and at the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik where the state-of-the-art stellarator Wendelstein 7-X is located.

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