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Tokamaks

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A nuclear fusion reactor in which a magnetic field keeps charged, hot plasma moving in a doughnut-shaped vacuum container.

PPPL’s dynamic diagnostic duo

Kenneth Hill and Manfred Bitter are scientific pioneers who have collaborated seamlessly for more than 35 years. Together they have revolutionized a key instrument in the quest to harness fusion energy — a device called an X-ray crystal spectrometer that is used around the world to reveal strikingly detailed information about the hot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions.

PPPL Director Stewart Prager to continue to lead the plasma physics laboratory

Stewart Prager, who has completed his first five-year term as director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has agreed to continue in that position. “I was originally drawn to the prospect of leading a large laboratory and a terrific staff,” Prager said, “and to helping shape the national program in fusion and plasma physics. All those reasons still stand.”

PPPL physicist Brian Grierson wins DOE Early Career Research Program grant

Physicist Brian Grierson of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has won a highly competitive Early Career Research Program award sponsored by the DOE’s Office of Science. The five-year grant will total some $2.5 million and fund exploration of the mechanisms that govern the formation and maintenance of the hot edge of fusion plasmas — the electrically charged gas that results in fusion reactions in facilities called tokamaks. The work will be carried out on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego.

Campanell wins Lawrence Fellowship to pursue plasma physics research

Princeton University graduate student Michael Campanell has won a highly competitive Lawrence Fellowship, resulting in a postdoctoral position at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Campanell was one of just two candidates selected from a field of 163 applicants for the coming academic year for the fellowship, which is open to all technical disciplines.

“I was thrilled to receive this fellowship,” Campanell said. "I think it is the best possible fit for me."

Campanell wins Lawrence Fellowship to pursue plasma physics research

Princeton University graduate student Michael Campanell has won a highly competitive Lawrence Fellowship, resulting in a postdoctoral position at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Campanell was one of just two candidates selected from a field of 163 applicants for the coming academic year for the fellowship, which is open to all technical disciplines.

“I was thrilled to receive this fellowship,” Campanell said. "I think it is the best possible fit for me."

Plasma Turbulence Simulations Reveal Promising Insight for Fusion Energy

With the potential to provide clean, safe, and abundant energy, nuclear fusion has been called the “holy grail” of energy production. But harnessing energy from fusion, the process that powers the sun, has proven to be an extremely difficult challenge.

Scientists have been working to accomplish efficient, self-sustaining fusion reactions for decades, and significant research and development efforts continue in several countries today.

The Bleeding ‘Edge’ of Fusion Research

Few problems have vexed physicists like fusion, the process by which stars fuel themselves and by which researchers on Earth hope to create the energy source of the future.

By heating the hydrogen isotopes tritium and deuterium to more than five times the temperature of the Sun’s surface, scientists create a reaction that could eventually produce electricity. Turns out, however, that confining the engine of a star to a manmade vessel and using it to produce energy is tricky business.

PPPL extends system for suppressing instabilities to long-pulse experiments on KSTAR

PPPL collaborations have been instrumental in developing a system to suppress instabilities that could degrade the performance of a fusion plasma. PPPL has built and installed such a system on the DIII-D tokamak that General Atomics operates for the U.S. Department of Energy in San Diego and on the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facility in South Korea —  and now is revising the KSTAR design to operate during extended plasma experiments.

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