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Nearly everybody knows about lithium – a light, silvery alkali metal – used in rechargeable batteries powering everything from laptops to hybrid cars. What  may not be so well known is the fact that researchers hoping to harness the energy released in fusion reactions also have used lithium to coat the walls of donut-shaped tokamak reactors. Lithium, it turns out, may help the plasmas fueling fusion reactions to retain heat for longer periods of time. This could improve the chances of producing useful energy from fusion.

Egemen Kolemen wins 2020 Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award

Egemen Kolemen, an assistant professor in Princeton University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a physicist who focuses on solving challenges to the development of fusion facilities at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, has won a prestigious 2020 Excellence in Fusion Engineering award presented by Fusion Power Associates (FPA).

First results of an upgraded experiment highlight the value of lithium for the creation of fusion energy

Lithium, the silvery metal that powers smart phones and helps treat bipolar disorders, could also play a significant role in the worldwide effort to harvest on Earth the safe, clean and virtually limitless fusion energy that powers the sun and stars. First results of the extensively upgraded Lithium Tokamak Experiment-Beta (LTX-β) at the U.S.

Physicist Rajesh Maingi heads nationwide liquid metal strategy program for fusion devices

Rajesh Maingi, a world-renowned expert on the physics of plasma, has been named to co-lead a national program to unify research on liquid metal components for future tokamaks, doughnut-shaped fusion facilities. Maingi, who heads research on boundary physics and plasma-facing components at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), will coordinate the three-year project in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Machine ready to see if magic metal – lithium – can help bring the fusion that lights the stars to Earth

Lithium, the light silvery metal used in everything from pharmaceutical applications to batteries that power your smart phone or electric car, could also help harness on Earth the fusion energy that lights the sun and stars. Lithium can maintain the heat and protect the walls inside doughnut-shaped tokamaks that house fusion reactions, and will be used to produce tritium, the hydrogen isotope that will combine with its cousin deuterium to fuel fusion in future reactors.

Lithium earns honors for three physicists working to bring the energy that powers the sun to Earth

Major developments in the use of lithium to improve the performance of fusion plasmas — the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei that fuels fusion reactions — have earned a trio of physicists the 2018 outstanding research awards from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Scientists around the world are seeking to replicate on Earth the fusion that drives the sun and stars to produce a virtually inexhaustible supply of energy to generate electricity.

Lithium — it’s not just for batteries: The powdered metal can reduce instabilities in fusion plasmas

You may be most familiar with the element lithium as an integral component of your smart phone’s battery, but the element also plays a role in the development of clean fusion energy. When used on tungsten surfaces in fusion devices, lithium can reduce periodic instabilities in plasma that can damage the reactor walls, scientists have found.

Two PPPL physicists, David Johnson and Charles Skinner, named ITER Scientist Fellows

David Johnson and Charles Skinner, principal research physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), have been appointed to three-year terms as ITER Scientist Fellows. They will join a network of internationally recognized researchers who will consult with ITER, the international fusion experiment under construction in France, on plans and components for the project, which is designed to demonstrate the practicality of fusion energy.


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

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