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Plasma physics

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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.

Celebrating Lyman Spitzer, the father of PPPL and the Hubble Space Telescope

Princeton astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer Jr. (1914-1997) was among the 20th Century’s most visionary scientists. His major influences range from founding the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and its quest for fusion energy, to inspiring the development of the Hubble Space Telescope and its images of the far corners of the universe.

Two PPPL physicists elected to receive prestigious honor

PPPL physicists David Gates and Charles Skinner have been named as American Physical Society fellows – a prestigious honor that is given to only one half of one percent of all APS members each year.

Gates, a principal research physicist and stellarator physics lead who has been at PPPL for 16 years, and Skinner, a principal research physicist at PPPL for 31 years whose work has focused on spectroscopy and plasma-wall interactions, will be honored at the APS Division of Plasma Physics meeting in Denver Nov. 11 to 15. The two bring the total number of APS fellows at PPPL to 51.

Worldwide conference on plasma science coming to Princeton area

More than 350 participants from around the world will gather in Plainsboro, N.J., on September 30 for the 66th Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC). The week-long event will bring together physicists from numerous plasma science disciplines for workshops, panels and poster sessions on topics ranging from basic research to uses for plasma in microchip etching, nano- material manufacturing and other technologies.

PPPL’s “Star Power” video offers compelling view of Laboratory’s research

(Watch video: http://www.pppl.gov/star%20power)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has released “Star Power,” a new informational video that uses dramatic and beautiful images and thought-provoking interviews to highlight the importance of the Laboratory’s research into magnetic fusion.

The 10-minute movie will be shown to the thousands of visitors who come to PPPL on tours and is posted on the Laboratory’s website, www.pppl.gov.

High school interns opt for research over relaxation

Summer is a time that many teenagers prefer to spend relaxing and soaking up the sun at the beach, but 10 high school students at PPPL decided instead to spend their summer soaking up plasma physics knowledge and performing hands-on research. 

The high school interns started on July 1, taking a three-day introductory course in plasma physics, offered as part of the program for the first time. Following the course, the students scattered throughout the Laboratory with each assigned a mentor.

At Plasma Camp, teachers experience research front and center

For one week every summer, a small group of teachers gathers at PPPL to relive student days. At this year’s Plasma Camp, a professional development program for science educators, 10 high school physics teachers lived together in a college dormitory, got lost together as they navigated the circuitous laboratory building, and learned as they created new plasma-based curricula.

From the Netherlands to PPPL: Student reflects on his study of light

Dutch graduate student Jasper van Rens recently completed a three-month assignment at PPPL to study a diagnostic technique that will be crucial to the success of ITER, the huge international fusion facility under construction in France. Working with Fred Levinton and Howard Yuh of PPPL subcontractor Nova Photonics, Van Rens investigated the impact of reflected light on the ITER Motional Stark Effect (MSE) instrument, which  measures the internal magnetic configuration of fusion plasmas.

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Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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