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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.

Schweickhard “Schwick” von Goeler, inventor of groundbreaking diagnostics used to analyze fusion experiments worldwide, dies at 84

Schweickhard “Schwick” von Goeler, an award-winning physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) for more than 35 years and the inventor of numerous X-ray diagnostics used in fusion experiments worldwide, died of leukemia on Dec. 6 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was 84.

Bernard named communications director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Larry Bernard, a proven developer of strategic communications programs, has been named director of communications for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), effective December 14. PPPL is the nation’s leading center for the exploration of plasma science and magnetic fusion energy.

PPPL researcher maps magnetic fields in first physics experiment on W7-X

As excitement builds around the first plasma, scheduled for December, on the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) experiment in Greifswald, Germany, PPPL physicist Sam Lazerson can boast that he has already achieved results.

Lazerson, who has been working at the site since March, mapped the structure of the magnetic field, proving that the main magnet system is working as intended.  This was achieved using the trim coils that PPPL designed and had built in the United States. He presented his research at the APS Division of Plasma Physics Conference in Savannah, Georgia, on Nov. 18. 

PPPL physicists propose new plasma-based method to treat radioactive waste

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are proposing a new way to process nuclear waste that uses a plasma-based centrifuge. Known as plasma mass filtering, the new mass separation techniques would supplement chemical techniques.  It is hoped that this combined approach would reduce both the cost of nuclear waste disposal and the amount of byproducts produced during the process.  This work was supported by PPPL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program.

Rob Goldston wins 2015 Nuclear Fusion Award for best paper published in 2012

The editorial board of the journal Nuclear Fusion has selected Rob Goldston, a fusion researcher and Princeton University professor of astrophysical sciences, as winner of the 2015 Nuclear Fusion Award. The award recognizes Goldston’s paper describing a new model for estimating the width of the scrape-off layer — the hot plasma that is exhausted in fusion facilities called tokamaks — as the most outstanding paper published by the journal in 2012.

Using powerful computers, physicists uncover mechanism that stabilizes plasma within tokamaks

A team of physicists led by Stephen Jardin of the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has discovered a mechanism that prevents the electrical current flowing through fusion plasma from repeatedly peaking and crashing. This behavior is known as a "sawtooth cycle" and can cause instabilities within the plasma's core. The results have been published online in Physical Review Letters. The research was supported by the DOE Office of Science.


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

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