Tokamak à configuration variable

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Tokamak à configuration variable
TCV in 2002
Device type Tokamak
Location Lausanne, Switzerland
Affiliation EPFL Swiss Plasma Center
Technical specifications
Major radius0.88 m (2 ft 11 in)
Minor radius0.25 m (9.8 in)
Magnetic field 1.43 T (14,300 G)
Heating power4.5  MW
Discharge duration2  s
Plasma current1.2  MA
Year(s) of operation1992–present
Preceded by TCA (now TCABR)
Tokamak a Configuration Variable (TCV): inner view, with the graphite-clad torus. Courtesy of CRPP-EPFL, Association Suisse-Euratom Tcv int.jpg
Tokamak à Configuration Variable (TCV): inner view, with the graphite-clad torus. Courtesy of CRPP-EPFL, Association Suisse-Euratom
Tokamak a Configuration Variable (TCV): general view of the setup. Courtesy of CRPP-EPFL, Association Suisse-Euratom 03 Toakamakclaudeseul.jpg
Tokamak à Configuration Variable (TCV): general view of the setup. Courtesy of CRPP-EPFL, Association Suisse-Euratom

The tokamak à configuration variable (TCV, literally "variable configuration tokamak") is an experimental tokamak located at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Swiss Plasma Center (SPC) in Lausanne, Switzerland. As the largest experimental facility of the Swiss Plasma Center, [1] the TCV tokamak explores the physics of magnetic confinement fusion. It distinguishes itself from other tokamaks with its specialized plasma shaping capability, which can produce diverse plasma shapes without requiring hardware modifications.


The research carried out on TCV contributes to the physics understanding for ITER and future fusion power plants such as DEMO. It is currently part of EUROfusion's Medium-Sized Tokamak (MST) programme, [2] alongside ASDEX Upgrade, MAST Upgrade and WEST.

The TCV tokamak produced its first plasma in November 1992 with full tokamak operation starting in June 1993. [3]


Plasma shaping

TCV features a highly elongated, rectangular vacuum vessel and 16 independently powered coils which facilitate development of new plasma configurations. A notable example is the discovery of significantly improved confinement with the negative triangularity shape in the late 1990s. [4] Novel divertor configurations such as the snowflake divertor were also realised and explored on TCV.

ECRH-ECCD system

Auxiliary heating is provided by the electron cyclotron resonance heating (ECRH) system. EC power in X-mode supplied by the X2 (second harmonic) and X3 (third harmonic) gyrotrons can be launched from the side or the top. The system can also support non-inductive plasma current via electron cyclotron current drive (ECCD). TCV is the first machine in world which has reported plasma with full current in ECCD in 2000. [5]

Neutral beam injection system

The neutral beam injection (NBI) system has been operated on TCV from 2015 for direct ion auxiliary heating which facilitates access to plasma regimes with high plasma pressure, a wider range of temperature ratios, and significant fast ion population. [6] TCV currently has two heating neutral beams and a diagnostic neutral beam. The first heating neutral beam injector can provided up to 1.3 MW of heating power.

Removable neutral baffles

TCV features an "open" divertor historically with limited separation between the divertor region and the main plasma. In 2019, TCV began to operate with removable neutral baffles in order to maximise the divertor neutral compression by limiting the transit of recycling neutrals from the wall to the confined plasma [7] . Baffles of different lengths are available, allowing for experimental study of variable divertor closure.

Main studies


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