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Figure-eight shaped tubes that confine hot plasma with external magnetic fields, developed by Lyman Spitzer in 1950 at the lab that became the PPPL.

PPPL, Princeton University physicists join German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Wendelstein 7-X celebration

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) physicists collaborating on the Wendelstein 7-X (W 7-X) stellarator fusion energy device in Greifswald, Germany, were on hand for the Feb. 3 celebration when German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed a button to produce a hydrogen-fueled superhot gas called a plasma. The occasion officially recognized a device that is the largest and most advanced fusion experiment of its kind in the world.

Top-5 Achievements at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in 2015

From launching the most powerful spherical tokamak on Earth to discovering a mechanism that halts solar eruptions, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory advanced the boundaries of clean energy and plasma science research in 2015. Here, in no particular order, are our picks for the Top-5 developments of the year:

PPPL engineers complete the design of Wendelstein 7-X scraper unit

Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have finished designing a novel component for the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator, which recently opened at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) in Griefswald, Germany. Known as a "test divertor unit (TDU) scraper element," the component intercepts some of the heat flowing towards the divertor — a part of the machine that collects heat and particles as they escape from the plasma before they hit the stellarator wall or degrade the plasma's performance.

PPPL engineers complete the design of Wendelstein 7-X scraper unit

Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have finished designing a novel component for the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator, which recently opened at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) in Griefswald, Germany. Known as a "test divertor unit (TDU) scraper element," the component intercepts some of the heat flowing towards the divertor — a part of the machine that collects heat and particles as they escape from the plasma before they hit the stellarator wall or degrade the plasma's performance.

A collaboration bears fruit as W7-X celebrates first research plasma

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and other national laboratories joined colleagues from around the world at the celebration for the first plasma of the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator at the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald, Germany. The Dec. 10 event heralded the start of the largest and most advanced fusion experiment of its kind in the world and could yield promising solutions to some of the most difficult challenges in developing 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. 

Laboratory Director Stewart Prager heralds start of new era with NSTX-U and looks to future projects in “State of the Laboratory” address

The completion of the $94 million National Spherical Torus-Upgrade (NSTX-U) will usher in a decade of research that will lead to vital results for the international and national fusion programs and could lead the way to a next-step fusion facility, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Director Stewart Prager told staff members in his annual “State of the Laboratory” address on Oct. 5.

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