Fundamental research requires unique research setups. Our scientists are always seeking the technical boundaries of their setups, and advancing insights also require increasingly better research facilities. Our institute therefore has high-tech engineers who design research setups in close collaboration with the research teams, which they then build and maintain themselves. We have a workshop with highly specialised equipment, which means that the setups can nearly always be constructed in house.
DIFFER has broadly set up workshops with the most advanced machine tools and an extensive knowledge and expertise of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and ICT. All of our engineers think with the scientists and convert the scientists' ideas into high-tech setups. Our engineers can be divided into four disciplines:
- Drawing office and precision engineering
Using their 3D software, our drawing office converts the wishes and requests of scientists into designs. In a specialised workshop, our precision mechanical engineers then use the latest processing machines to produce the components for the experimental setups of DIFFER.
- ICT, software and electronics
Our ICT section writes software for the control of our unique research setups, the collection of the research data and the processing and analysis of this by the scientists. Our electrical engineers build the analogue or digital, high or low voltage electronics that are specifically needed for the setups. For example, we developed a large capacitor bank to help simulate the consequences of instabilities in the fusion plasma in the Magnum-PSI setup.
Unique high-tech research setups
Our institute has built up an extensive provision of research setups within solar fuels and fusion energy research. We have plasma facilities, deposition rooms, optics labs and a code park with computer models. DIFFER's main experimental facility for fusion research is the linear plasma generator Magnum-PSI, which is the only laboratory experiment in the world capable of exposing materials to the punishing conditions expected at the wall of future fusion reactors.