Fusion Plasmas

Fusion energy research in the School of Physics focuses on Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC). This approach enables fusion to be carried out on a bench top while still enabling the physics of larger fusion devices to be studied. The approaches used to study the physics of IEC use optical diagnostics such as emission and laser spectroscopy amongst other methods.
Plasma theory and modelling supplement the experimental work in order to gain a clearer picture of the physics involved. This research area has also given rise to applications of the IEC discharge to a new type spacecraft electric propulsion, which has also become one of the research areas of the fusion group.

The University of Sydney through the School of Physics is an active member of the Australian ITER Forum supporting large scale fusion experiments overseas. The fusion group also has affiliations with the National fusion facility at the ANU in Canberra.


(Above) Spectroscopy of a helium plasma in an inertial electrostatic confinement (IEC) chamber.