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This function manages the design, fabrication and operation of PPPL experimental devices, and oversees the Laboratory’s facilities and its electrical and infrastructure systems.

Physicist Tyler Abrams models lithium erosion in tokamaks

The world of fusion energy is a world of extremes. For instance, the center of the ultrahot plasma contained within the walls of doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks can reach temperatures well above the 15 million degrees Celsius core of the sun. And even though the portion of the plasma closer to the tokamak's inner walls is 10 to 20 times cooler, it still has enough energy to erode the layer of liquid lithium that may be used to coat components that face the plasma in future tokamaks.

Hunting for Big Bang neutrinos that could provide fresh insight on the origin of the universe

Big Bang neutrinos are believed to be everywhere in the universe but have never been seen.  The expansion of the universe has stretched them and they are thought to be billions of times colder than neutrinos that stream from the sun.  As the oldest known witnesses or “relics” of the early universe, they could shed new light on the birth of the cosmos if scientists could pin them down. That’s a tall order since these ghostly particles can speed through planets as if they were empty space.

Hunting for Big Bang neutrinos that could provide fresh insight on the origin of the universe

Big Bang neutrinos are believed to be everywhere in the universe but have never been seen.  The expansion of the universe has stretched them and they are thought to be billions of times colder than neutrinos that stream from the sun.  As the oldest known witnesses or “relics” of the early universe, they could shed new light on the birth of the cosmos if scientists could pin them down. That’s a tall order since these ghostly particles can speed through planets as if they were empty space.

PPPL engineers design and build state-of-the-art controller for AC to DC converter that manages plasma in upgraded fusion machine

The electric current that powers fusion experiments requires superb control. Without it, the magnetic coils the current drives cannot contain and shape the plasma that fuels experiments in doughnut-shaped tokamaks correctly.

PPPL engineers design and build state-of-the-art controller for AC to DC converter that manages plasma in upgraded fusion machine

The electric current that powers fusion experiments requires superb control. Without it, the magnetic coils the current drives cannot contain and shape the plasma that fuels experiments in doughnut-shaped tokamaks correctly.

PPPL inventors win award for device that creates medical isotope vital for diagnosing diseases

Charles Gentile, an engineer at PPPL, and fellow inventors George Ascione and Adam Cohen won third prize at Princeton University Keller Center’s 11th Annual Innovation Forum on Feb. 24 for their invention of an on-demand method to create a badly needed isotope used routinely in medical imaging for diagnosis.

Developing the digital safeguard that protects the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade at PPPL

As the most powerful spherical tokamak in the world, the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) produces magnetic forces that are far greater than what its predecessor could generate. Moreover, the power supply system that drives current in the fusion facility’s electromagnetic coils can potentially produce even higher forces unless properly constrained.

Developing the digital safeguard that protects the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade at PPPL

As the most powerful spherical tokamak in the world, the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) produces magnetic forces that are far greater than what its predecessor could generate. Moreover, the power supply system that drives current in the fusion facility’s electromagnetic coils can potentially produce even higher forces unless properly constrained.

Top-5 Achievements at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in 2015

From launching the most powerful spherical tokamak on Earth to discovering a mechanism that halts solar eruptions, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory advanced the boundaries of clean energy and plasma science research in 2015. Here, in no particular order, are our picks for the Top-5 developments of the year:

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