Nuclear fusion moves one step closer thanks to 3 UGent researchers

(18-05-2021) The doctoral researches of Carlo Poggi, Sylvestre Denizeau en Dimitri Voltolina help to demonstrate that nuclear fusion for power generation is feasible.


The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is being built in the South of France, to demonstrate the feasibility of nuclear fusion for power generation.

The ITER project requires two neutral beam injectors to heat the reactor plasma. With a high-energy neutral deuterium beam, the core of the plasma can be heated efficiently. To achieve this performance, negative ion beams are required due to their greater neutralization efficiency compared to positive ions at high energies.

The 7 partners of the ITER Organisation (China, EU, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and USA) represent more than half of the world's population.

These 3 doctoral studies are part of the preparations for the construction of ITER.

ITER site in Cadarache
ITER site in Cadarache, the construction is progressing very well.

Carlo Poggi

Carlo Poggi's doctoral research ‘Numerical and experimental study of the physics of negative ion beams’ aims to create tools to improve the performance of negative ion accelerators.

During his PhD he worked on neutral beam injectors for fusion, focusing on the operation of large negative ion beams and developing diagnostic tools to characterize both the ion source and the beam. His research was mainly devoted to the investigation of the generation and extraction of negative ions, with experiments conducted on various ion sources worldwide.

Sylvestre Denizeau

Sylvestre Denizeau's doctoral research ‘Numerical and Experimental Study of High Voltage Negative Ion Accelerator for ITER NBI' focuses specifically on the acceleration of negative ions. The aim is to better understand the physical mechanisms underlying these accelerators through simulations and analysis of experiments.

Dimitri Voltolina

Dimitri Voltolina's doctoral research ‘Advanced Computational Tools for Fusion Devices' deals with the development of efficient computational tools, which aim to provide numerical support for some of the most important engineering and physics problems related to fusion devices.

A major part of his thesis deals with the solution of eddy current problems, since the effect of these currents can have both positive and negative effects on the plasma. A second topic of his thesis concerns the mitigation of magnetic disturbances.


Carlo Poggi and Sylvestre Denizeau graduated in physics from the University of Padova in 2017. Dimitri Voltolina graduated in 2017 as Master in Electrical Engineering from the University of Padova.

Afterwards they followed the joint doctoral course Fusion Science and Engineering at the universities of Padova and Gent.


Public doctoral defences: 19 May 2021

More information: via promotor Kristel Crombé (, +32 486 53 69 42)