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Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
“The Challenge of Fusion - Being Caught between Plasma and Wall"
Date: Monday, November 27th
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Place: 1610 Engineering Hall
Speaker: Dr. Jan W. Coenen, Institute for Energy and Climate Research (IEK-4), Juelich, Germany; and UW-Madison
Abstract: Making nuclear fusion a reality faces a pivotal challenge at its core – striking the delicate balance between containing and stabilising the intensely hot plasma within a fusion reactor while safeguarding the surrounding wall materials from extreme heat and radiation. This balance is critical for realising fusion as a clean and sustainable energy source. Here, we elaborate on the scientific, engineering, and materials aspects of this challenge, highlighting innovative solutions and ongoing research efforts with a focus on the plasma wall interface.

Dr. Coenen completed his Ph.D. at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf in 2006, and since then, he has been deeply involved in the field of plasma physics and materials, particularly in the context of extreme environments like those encountered in nuclear fusion. He holds the role as a project leader at the Institute for Energy and Climate Research (IEK-4), research center Juelich in Germany. In this capacity, he leads the development of materials and components capable of withstanding the extreme conditions associated with nuclear fusion.
With over a decade of experience in this domain, Dr. Coenen has been instrumental in devising innovative solutions utilising high-Z metal composite materials, notably tungsten, known for their exceptional resilience against high temperatures, radiation, and erosion.
Moreover, Dr. Coenen plays a vital role in coordinating European initiatives related to plasma-wall interaction and the qualification of high-Z materials for future fusion devices, including ITER, JET, AUG, and W7-X. These projects are pivotal in the field of nuclear fusion research and development.
His contributions extend internationally as he is part of a group of experts within the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA-Div/Sol), working to enhance the knowledge base required for the operation of ITER, a significant international fusion research project.
Dr. Coenen's academic influence is also noteworthy, as he holds adjunct professorships at UW Madison, an honorary professorship at the Chinese South West Institute (SWIP), and serves as a lecturer at the University of Bochum in Germany. These academic appointments underscore his dedication to both teaching and advancing research in the field.
Host: Prof. Steffi Diem
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