Creating a
star on earth

Our fusion energy research

The worldwide energy transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy requires technology that allows large quantities of clean, sustainable and reliable energy to be generated in compact power stations. Fusion energy could satisfy this demand without the emission of greenhouse gases. Nuclear fusion is the energy source of our sun. At the core of the sun, energy is released when hydrogen atoms react at high temperatures to produce helium. We can and want to make this fusion process safe and clean to use on earth as well. 

ITER project

The first fusion reactor that can demonstrate the technical feasibility of nuclear fusion as an energy source on earth is now being constructed in the South of France. ITER is a joint project between Europe, the United States, Russia, Japan, India, South Korea and China that is deemed larger and more complex than the international space Station ISS. DIFFER is the leading Dutch research centre for nuclear fusion and the contact point for Dutch researchers and companies who want to participate in the worldwide research into nuclear fusion. The research institute is the Dutch partner in the Horizon2020 programme EUROfusion and works together with the European domestic agency Fusion4Energy for companies who want to participate in the construction of ITER. Read more

Want to learn more about nuclear fusion?

High school physics website covered the quest for fusion research:


Research groups

Energy Systems and Control 
Developing system identification techniques and control algorithms for nuclear fusion reactors - group leader: Dr.Ir. Matthijs van Berkel

Integrated Modelling 
Combining the multi-scale and multi-physics aspects for magnetic confinement fusion science - group leader: Dr. Sven Wiesen

Plasma Edge Physics and Diagnostics 
Investigating complex processes in the edge of fusion plasmas with state of the art diagnostics - group leader: Dr. Ivo Classen

Plasma Material Interactions 
Solving the problem of exhausting huge heat and particle loads to the reactor wall - group leader: Dr. Thomas Morgan

Plasma Micro-Turbulence 
Understanding the fundamental physics of plasma instability and turbulence - group leader: Dr. M.J. Pueschel

Former research activities within the Fusion Energy department are listed with names of respective group leaders.

  • Computational Plasma Physics and Chemistry
    Developing numerical models for the study of molecular plasmas - group leader: Dr. Paola Diomede
  • Integrated Modelling and MHD 
    Developing theory and numerical tools for modelling fusion plasmas - group leader: Dr. Egbert Westerhof
  • Integrated Modelling and Transport
    Prediction and control of tokamak transport within plasma simulation frameworks - group leader: Dr. Jonathan Citrin


DIFFER is a member of the EUROfusion consortium, which comprises 31 fusion research organisations and universities from 26 European member states plus Norway, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.