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The study of plasma, a partially-ionized gas that is electrically conductive and able to be confined within a magnetic field, and how it releases energy.

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.

DOE’s Ed Synakowski traces key discoveries in the quest for fusion energy

The path to creating sustainable fusion energy as a clean, abundant and affordable source of electric energy has been filled with “aha moments” that have led to a point in history when the international fusion experiment, ITER, is poised to produce more fusion energy than it uses when it is completed in 15 to 20 years, said Ed Synakowski, associate director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). 

DOE’s Ed Synakowski traces key discoveries in the quest for fusion energy

The path to creating sustainable fusion energy as a clean, abundant and affordable source of electric energy has been filled with “aha moments” that have led to a point in history when the international fusion experiment, ITER, is poised to produce more fusion energy than it uses when it is completed in 15 to 20 years, said Ed Synakowski, associate director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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 graduate students help create Princeton University Art Museum exhibition exploring art and physics

When you think of a physicist, what comes to mind? Perhaps a figure in a white lab coat tinkering with complex machinery. Or maybe a wild-haired theoretician scribbling equations on a chalkboard. And you might believe that the world of physics is entirely consumed with numbers and devices, with no connection to the non-scientific world. 

PPPL graduate students help create Princeton University Art Museum exhibition exploring art and physics

When you think of a physicist, what comes to mind? Perhaps a figure in a white lab coat tinkering with complex machinery. Or maybe a wild-haired theoretician scribbling equations on a chalkboard. And you might believe that the world of physics is entirely consumed with numbers and devices, with no connection to the non-scientific world.

PPPL researchers advance understanding of plasma turbulence that drains heat from fusion reactors

The life of a subatomic particle can be hectic. The charged nuclei and electrons that zip around the vacuum vessels of doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks are always in motion. But while that motion helps produce the fusion reactions that could power a new class of electricity generator, the turbulence it generates can also limit those reactions.

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