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Fusion energy

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The energy released when two atomic nuclei fuse together. This process powers the sun and stars.  Read more

Campanell wins Lawrence Fellowship to pursue plasma physics research

Princeton University graduate student Michael Campanell has won a highly competitive Lawrence Fellowship, resulting in a postdoctoral position at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Campanell was one of just two candidates selected from a field of 163 applicants for the coming academic year for the fellowship, which is open to all technical disciplines.

“I was thrilled to receive this fellowship,” Campanell said. "I think it is the best possible fit for me."

“Stellar” progress on NSTX-U highlights strong year for PPPL, Lab Director Stewart Prager says

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is looking forward to reopening the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX-U) after “stellar” progress in the $94 million upgrade of the facility that should allow it to be completed by December of this year, Lab Director Stewart Prager told PPPL staff during his annual State of the Laboratory speech on April 29.

COLLOQUIUM: Exploring the Physical Properties of Matter in Extreme Conditions

One of the great challenges of this century is to determine if nuclear fusion of hydrogen isotopes can be demonstrated in the laboratory and developed into an unlimited carbon-free energy source.  Recently, experiments on laser-driven targets have begun on the National Ignition Facility to reach temperatures and densities more extreme than the center of the sun.

COLLOQUIUM: The Many Faces of Fusion

Dan Clery, a veteran journalist for Science magazine and author of “A Piece of the Sun,” a wide-ranging account of the quest for fusion energy, will provide a whirlwind tour of the history of fusion from the 1850s to the present day and the people who made it happen. The journey will take in atom spies, superpower summits, hijackings by Palestinian terrorists, the Red Army, South American dictators and the Iraq war.

Plasma Turbulence Simulations Reveal Promising Insight for Fusion Energy

With the potential to provide clean, safe, and abundant energy, nuclear fusion has been called the “holy grail” of energy production. But harnessing energy from fusion, the process that powers the sun, has proven to be an extremely difficult challenge.

Scientists have been working to accomplish efficient, self-sustaining fusion reactions for decades, and significant research and development efforts continue in several countries today.

The Bleeding ‘Edge’ of Fusion Research

Few problems have vexed physicists like fusion, the process by which stars fuel themselves and by which researchers on Earth hope to create the energy source of the future.

By heating the hydrogen isotopes tritium and deuterium to more than five times the temperature of the Sun’s surface, scientists create a reaction that could eventually produce electricity. Turns out, however, that confining the engine of a star to a manmade vessel and using it to produce energy is tricky business.

PPPL extends system for suppressing instabilities to long-pulse experiments on KSTAR

PPPL collaborations have been instrumental in developing a system to suppress instabilities that could degrade the performance of a fusion plasma. PPPL has built and installed such a system on the DIII-D tokamak that General Atomics operates for the U.S. Department of Energy in San Diego and on the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facility in South Korea —  and now is revising the KSTAR design to operate during extended plasma experiments.

PPPL extends system for suppressing instabilities to long-pulse experiments on KSTAR

PPPL collaborations have been instrumental in developing a system to suppress instabilities that could degrade the performance of a fusion plasma. PPPL has built and installed such a system on the DIII-D tokamak that General Atomics operates for the U.S. Department of Energy in San Diego and on the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facility in South Korea —  and now is revising the KSTAR design to operate during extended plasma experiments.

COLLOQUIUM: In Pursuit of Ignition on the National Ignition Facility

The Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Program is conducting experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with the goal of igniting a propagating thermonuclear burn wave in DT fuel leading to energy gain (defined as fusion yield/input laser energy >1). To do this the NIF laser delivers up to ~ 2 MJ of energy to a hohlraum (cylindrical cavity) which generates x-rays that implode a ~2 mm diameter spherical capsule filled with a solid layer of cryogenic deuterium-tritium (DT) fuel.

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