Context : Ecole Polytechnique co-accredits the specialty "Fusion Sciences" with the universities of Paris 6 (UPMC), Paris-Sud 11 (Orsay), Nancy 1, Bordeaux 1, Aix-Marseille 1 & 3, the INSTN and INP Lorraine. The development of a highly skilled and wide-open scientific community is required at two differents schemes of fusion, namely the "inertial confinement" and "magnetic confinement" fusion; each relevant to facilities whose assembly is in progress in France: the "Megajoule" Laser (Bordeaux) and the tokamak ITER (Cadarache). Above Physics of Plasmas, the stake is particularly to master the technologies involved in plasma heating and confinement. These would let us consider to produce cleaner electricity from thermonuclear fusion during the next five decades.
Aims : This specialty (Master 2) aims to provide interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, for preparing high-level scientists and engineers, from France and foreign countries, keen on studying in plasma research, energy and fusion research programs, specifically within the framework of large projects. The training consists of acquiring both fundamental and experimental knowledge, as well as technologies, in the plasmas and thermonuclear fusion domains.
Content : This master's program consists of two semesters (courses and internship). The first semester S3 gathers students at Bordeaux (8 ECTS). They choose one of the three pathways and follow a common course core (19 ECTS): "Magnetic confinement fusion and magnetized plasmas" (MCF), "Inertial confinement fusion and dense plasmas" (ICF) et "Physics and Technologies of plasmas and fusion" (PTF). The last semester S4 gathers the students either in Cadarache ou in Bordeaux (9 ECTS), close to the large fusion equipments, and consists of a mentored research project in a physics or industrial lab (24 ECTS), with at the end writing of a research thesis and its oral defense.
Skills acquired : Graduates in this specialization have multidisciplinary skills that can then be developed by doing a PhD. This training fits students to research either in industry, national laboratories or in academia. Skills cover the following domains:
- Kinetic modelling of the charged particle distributions: orbits, collisions, confinement, gyrokinetic instability and associated transport;
- (Magneto-) hydrodynamics (MHD): equilibrium and MHD stability; fluid instabilities, ablation, transport and turbulence.;
- Wave-plasma coupling: heating and current generation. Power generators: radiofrequency, microwaves. Parametric instabilities, particle acceleration by lasers.;
- High power lasers: design of large laser facilities laser material, laser induced damage. High power lasers. Ultra high intensity laser pulses;
- Confinment: cryogenics, superconductivity, cryomagnetism. Science and technology of Vacuum. Materials under high neutron and thermal flux. Materials exposed to High heat load and high neutron flux;
- Diagnostics and control of fusion facilities;
- Hot dense plasmas: atomic physics and equations of state.;
- Nuclear fusion: cross sections, breakeven criterium, target design, ignition and energy production;
- Astrophysics: star plasmas, turbulence, planets and stars, compact objects, equations of state, creation and dynamics of large scale structures;
- Numerical methods and modelling of physical processes and instruments.
Physicists and engineers also would able to understand and to design the relevant technologies (see specialty website for further infos).
Further opportunities : Students can go onto PhD to join teams working on large-scale instruments (Île-de-France / Bordeaux / Cadarache) or in fundamental or applied research laboratories. Students may also be hired in industries working on this Fusion program, on theoretical, experimental or technological aspects.
Career prospects : These academic labs in physics or technology will offer positions in large research french organisations (CNRS, CEA, ONERA…) or universities.
Highlights : This graduate degree programme is supported by a joint effort of universities within a federation "Education for fusion sciences" linked with most of french labs specialized in the feild.
It is enhanced by an international renown with such facilities (Laser mégajoule, Tore-Supra, JET, ITER...) and laboratories belonging, due to the major investment they need, to large-scale networks.
Last Modification : Tuesday 13 July 2010