Thomas Sunn Pedersen  

Thomas Pedersen

Adjunct Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

Max Planck Institute for
Plasma Physics, Garching

Research Interests

Plasma physics, magnetic confinement, fusion energy, plasma turbulence, non-neutral plasmas, positron-electron plasmas

Born in Roskilde, Denmark in 1970, Thomas Sunn Pedersen studied applied physics engineering at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Lyngby. He graduated with a M. Sc. degree in 1995 having completed his Master's thesis at Risø National Laboratory in computational plasma physics and spent a semester at JET in England. He then went to MIT (Cambridge, MA, USA) and graduated with a PhD in plasma physics in 2000. His thesis work focused on soft x-ray measurements and modelling of impurities in the Alcator C-Mod tokamak.

After a brief postdoctoral position on the Levitated Dipole Experiment, he started as an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia University in New York, also in 2000. At Columbia University, he designed and built a remarkably simple stellarator, the Columbia Non-neutral Torus, which he then used to study pure electron plasmas and partially neutralized plasmas. He also taught a number of courses, including plasma physics and quantum mechanics. In 2005, he was promoted to associate professor, and in 2007 he received tenure.

In 2010, he was appointed a scientific member of the Max-Planck-Society, and in 2011, he started as Director of the Stellarator Edge and Divertor Physics Division at the Greifswald branch of the Max-Planck Institute of Plasma Physics.

Selected Publications

1. T. Sunn Pedersen, M. Otte, S. Lazerson, P. Helander, S. Bozhenkov, C. Biedermann, T. Klinger, R. C. Wolf, H. -S. Bosch & The Wendelstein 7-X Team, Confirmation of the topology of the Wendelstein 7-X magnetic field to better than 1:100,000, Nature Communications 7, 13493 (2016)

2. T. Sunn Pedersen, T. Andreeva, H.-S. Bosch, S. Bozhenkov, F. Effenberg, M. Endler, et al., Plans for the first plasma operation of Wendelstein 7-X, Nuclear Fusion, 55: 126001 (2015)

3. T. Sunn Pedersen, J. R. Danielson, C. Hugenschmidt, G. Marx, X Sarasola, F. Schauer, L Schweikhard, C. M. Surko and E. Winkler, Plans for the creation and studies of electron-positron plasmas in a stellarator, New Journal of Physics 14, 035010 (2012)

4. Q. R. Marksteiner, T. Sunn Pedersen, J. W. Berkery, M. S. Hahn, J. M. Mendez, and H. Himura, Observations of an ion-driven instability in nonneutral plasmas confined on magnetic surfaces, Physical Review Letters 100, 065002 (2008)

5. J. P. Kremer, T. Sunn Pedersen, R. G. Lefrancois, Q. Marksteiner, Experimental confirmation of stable, small-Debye-length, pure electron plasma equilibria in a stellarator, Physical Review Letters 97, 095003 (2006)