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Physics of High-Temperature Plasmas

The "Physics of High-Temperature Plasmas" group develops experimental know-how, modelling and numerical simulations related to plasmas. The current expertise has been developped within our laboratory over the last fourty years.

Study of the effects of radio frequency sheaths in a high pressure argon plasma antenna (ALINE device).

A high-temperature plasma consists of a special state of matter. It is characterized by the collective motion of charged particles which is a result of the long range character of the Coulomb interactions. In contrast to ordinary neutral gases, electromagnetic forces at the plasma scale (and not collisions between neighbouring particles) govern the behavior of high temperature plasmas. This state of matter comprises 99% of the observable universe.

This specific medium exists in natural plasmas (stars, magnetosphere, solar wind, etc.) or in laboratory plasmas like those produced in experiments such as ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, fusion by magnetic confinement), LMJ (Laser MegaJoule, fusion by inertial confinement), or plasma thrusters.

The activities of the group concern:

  • fusion by magnetic or inertial confinement, inserted upstream of ITER and LMJ projects,

  • more general aspects of plasma physics, such as turbulence, magnetic reconnection, radio frequency sheaths and the development of new diagnostics,

  • mathematical analysis of models and numerical schemes.


From a numerical point of view, the Group takes part in the development of codes that require the use of intensive numerical simulations (HPC, High-Performance Computing).


From an experimental point of view, the Group has developed 3 experimental devices that produce magnetized, cylindrical plasmas (up to 0.1 Tesla):

  • MIRABELLE: studies of drift waves and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities, as well as associated transport.

  • ALINE: physics of RF sheaths

  • Discharge in cylindrical geometry: a device allowing the study of cylindrical striations


The group is directly involved in research carried out with large European instruments: Tore Supra (France), JET (England) and ASDEX-U (Germany).

The "Physics of High Temperature Plasmas" Group is currently based in the premises of the Science and Technology Faculty in Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy. 

The group is composed of 2 researchers and 13 lecturers. It currently hosts 7 PhD students and post-doctoral fellows.

Group leader: Frédéric BROCHARD