Institute for Technical Physics

ITEP

Innovative Technologies for Energy and Physics based Technologies

The profile of the ITEP is clearly focused on research and development for a safe and efficient energy supply and use.

The ITEP research activities cover application-oriented technology development, the pursuit of scientific knowledge, the risk analysis of the technologies we work on for public discourse and qualified training in the natural and engineering sciences to promote and secure the next generation of scientists and engineers. 

The strength of the ITEP is connecting scientific research and the transfer to economic applications. The equipment and experiments at the ITEP are very often unique. This special infrastructure and the know-how of the ITEP staff is nationally and internationally widely recognized.

Within the framework of the Helmholtz programme in the field of energy, we focus our work on the development and application of superconducting components for compact and efficient modern energy system components, as well as on new technologies for the fusion fuel cycle, especially in vacuum technology.

Superconducting technologies are part of the general energy roadmap. Superconducting solutions are already established applications in medical, accelerator and high-field technology. Due to the advantages in energy and material efficiency compared to conventional solutions, we expect a strong increase in the commercial use of high temperature superconducting technologies for energy transport, energy storage and energy conversion and use. For this reason, the ITEP is working intensively with industrial companies in the realization or introduction of superconducting systems.

The ITEP covers the entire research and development spectrum from superconducting materials research, component development and cryotechnology to the realisation of complete superconducting systems. This thematic profile is the working basis of the professorships anchored at the ITEP and the associated research fields and topics.

 

Our Research Fields

Superconducting and cryogenic materials form the basis of all superconducting applications. At the ITEP, classical low and high temperature superconductors as well as new superconductor and cryomaterials are investigated and developed with respect to their potential applications in energy and magnetic engineering. This ranges from the understanding of current-carrying superconductor properties, the characterization of mechanical low temperature properties to the development of high-current carrying wire and cable architectures and their manufacturing technologies.

At the ITEP, first demonstrators and prototypes for novel superconducting energy applications are being developed, with a focus on improving resource and energy efficiency. These include powerful and compact AC and DC power lines, energy-efficient and compact transformers, superconducting magnetic energy storage devices and short-circuit current limiting equipment. Further research activities are focused on the development of new simulation tools for the calculation of the complex electromagnetic behaviour of high- temperature superconductors and the real-time integration of novel components and equipment by means of a high-performance power hardware-in-the-loop laboratory. 

Superconducting magnet technology covers a wide field ranging from the simplest windings such as ring and disc coils, solenoids and pole coils to complete magnet systems and/or demanding 3D windings which can no longer be realized on simple geometric bodies. These components are used, for example, in medical diagnostics and research (MRI & NMR), in power engineering (transformers, motors / generators), in industrial magnets (magnetization, damping/stabilization, coating), in high-energy physics (accelerators, fusion) and in special magnets. Research and development in the fields of calculation/design, production, testing and operation (temperatures from 1.8 K to 300 K) is supported by competence and facilities in the field of winding technology (conventional and/or several cooperating 2- to 6-axis robots with dedicated winding hand), potting & impregnation and cryotechnical test facilities for components of representative dimensions (up to the order of magnitude of "meters").

The reliable operation of a fusion power plant requires the safe processing of the fusion fuel in a closed loop and the control of the fusion plasma in a vacuum chamber of unprecedented complexity. In the key area of vacuum, the ITEP provides an infrastructure that is unique in the world and which allows scientific and technical know-how to be secured and further developed over the long term.