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Fusion reactor design

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The design of devices that use powerful magnetic fields to control plasma so fusion can take place. The most widely used magnetic confinement device is the tokamak, followed by the stellarator.

PPPL and Max Planck physicists confirm the precision of magnetic fields in the most advanced stellarator in the world

Physicist Sam Lazerson of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has teamed with German scientists to confirm that the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion energy device called a stellarator in Greifswald, Germany, produces high-quality magnetic fields that are consistent with their complex design.

PPPL physicists build diagnostic that measures plasma velocity in real time

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a diagnostic that provides crucial real-time information about the ultrahot plasma swirling within doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks. This device monitors four locations in a plasma, enabling the diagnostic to make rapid calculations of how the velocity profiles of ions inside the plasma evolves over time.

PPPL physicists build diagnostic that measures plasma velocity in real time

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a diagnostic that provides crucial real-time information about the ultrahot plasma swirling within doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks. This device monitors four locations in a plasma, enabling the diagnostic to make rapid calculations of how the velocity profiles of ions inside the plasma evolves over time.

First results of NSTX-U research operations presented at the International Atomic Energy Agency Conference in Kyoto, Japan

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratories (PPPL) and collaborating institutions presented results from research on the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) last week at the 26th International Atomic Energy Agency Conference (IAEA) in Kyoto, Japan. The four-year upgrade doubled the magnetic field strength, plasma current and heating power capability of the predecessor facility and made the NSTX-U the most powerful fusion facility of its kind.

Major next steps proposed for development of fusion energy based on the spherical tokamak design

Among the top puzzles in the development of fusion energy is the best shape for the magnetic facility — or “bottle” — that will provide the next steps in the development of fusion reactors. Leading candidates include spherical tokamaks, compact machines that are shaped like cored apples, compared with the doughnut-like shape of conventional tokamaks.  The spherical design produces high-pressure plasmas — essential ingredients for fusion reactions — with relatively low and cost-effective magnetic fields.

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