Press Releases Archive
Magnetic reconnection can trigger geomagnetic storms that disrupt cell phone service, damage satellites and blackout power grids. But how reconnection, in which the magnetic field lines in plasma snap apart and violently reconnect, transforms magnetic energy into explosive particle energy remains a major unsolved problem in plasma astrophysics. Magnetic field lines represent the strength and direction of magnetic fields.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are assisting General Electric Co. in developing an electrical switch that could help lower utility bills. The advanced switch “could contribute to a smarter, more advanced, more reliable, and more secure electric grid,” according to the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which is funding the GE project.
Graduate student Jonathan Squire has won a highly competitive Honorific Fellowship from the Princeton University Graduate School. The award, for which Squire was nominated by the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics at PPPL, recognizes outstanding performance and professional promise and provides tuition and a stipend to fellowship winners
Francis “Rip” William Perkins Jr., a pioneering plasma physicist whose contributions to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) ranged from seminal advances in fusion energy and astrophysical research to the education of a generation of scientists, died on July 26 in Boulder, Colo. He was 80 and had long battled Parkinson’s disease.
Some 35 physicists from around the world gathered at PPPL last week for the second annual Laboratory-led workshop on improving ways to predict and mitigate disruptions in tokamaks. Avoiding or mitigating such disruptions, which occur when heat or electric current are suddenly reduced during fusion experiments, will be crucial for ITER the international experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power.
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.
A proven system for verifying that apparent nuclear weapons slated to be dismantled contained true warheads could provide a key step toward the further reduction of nuclear arms. The system would achieve this verification while safeguarding classified information that could lead to nuclear proliferation.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has received some $4.3 million of DOE Office of Science funding, over three years, to develop an increased understanding of the role of plasma in the synthesis of nanoparticles. Such particles, which are measured in billionths of a meter, are prized for their use in everything from golf clubs and swimwear to microchips, paints and pharmaceutical products. They also have potentially wide-ranging applications in the development of new energy technologies.
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."
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has named Princeton University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) participants in a new $25 million, five-year project to address technology and policy issues related to nuclear arms control. The project will include a unique process that Princeton and PPPL are developing to verify that nuclear weapons to be dismantled or removed from deployment contain true warheads.
The Young Women’s Conference hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) became a pep rally for science this year when all 400 girls attending shouted “Science” at the top of their lungs from the bleachers in Jadwin Gymnasium at the urging of keynote speaker Jayatri Das. It was no doubt the first such cheer ever shouted in the gym.
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.
Students at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in West Windsor, N.J. were enthralled when they watched a glowing pink plasma appear on a screen in their classroom in a video stream of PPPL’s Remote Glow Discharge Experiment (RGDX) five miles away.
The March 12 event marked the first public demonstration of an invention that fills a gap in online education by providing students anywhere in the world with a way to take part in an actual experiment online.
Just as the Olympics were wrapping up in Sochi, PPPL was hosting its own Olympics of sorts for budding young scientists. But this Olympics focused on young contestants’ knowledge of science, mathematics and technology in a quest to win the regional contest to compete in the National Science Bowl in Washington D.C.
PPPL is developing a new and more powerful version of its world-leading Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX), which recreates one of the most common but least understood phenomena in the universe. This phenomenon, in which the magnetic field lines in plasma snap apart and violently reconnect, occurs throughout the cosmos and gives rise to the northern lights, solar flares and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell-phone service and black out power grids.
Research conducted by PPPL in collaboration with the University of Alberta provides a key step toward the development of ever-more powerful computer chips. The researchers discovered the physics behind a mysterious process that gives chipmakers unprecedented control of a recent plasma-based technique for etching transistors on integrated circuits, or chips. This discovery could help to maintain Moore’s Law, which observes that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles nearly every two years
Researchers led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have won highly competitive allocations of time on two of the world’s fastest supercomputers. The increased awards are designed to advance the development of nuclear fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for generating electricity.