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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.

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 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.

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. 

Developing the digital safeguard that protects the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade at PPPL

As the most powerful spherical tokamak in the world, the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) produces magnetic forces that are far greater than what its predecessor could generate. Moreover, the power supply system that drives current in the fusion facility’s electromagnetic coils can potentially produce even higher forces unless properly constrained.

Developing the digital safeguard that protects the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade at PPPL

As the most powerful spherical tokamak in the world, the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) produces magnetic forces that are far greater than what its predecessor could generate. Moreover, the power supply system that drives current in the fusion facility’s electromagnetic coils can potentially produce even higher forces unless properly constrained.

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.

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