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Lithium

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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.

PPL researchers demonstrate first hot plasma edge in a fusion facility

Two major issues confronting magnetic-confinement fusion energy are enabling the walls of devices that house fusion reactions to survive bombardment by energetic particles, and improving confinement of the plasma required for the reactions. At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), researchers have found that coating tokamak walls with lithium— a light, silvery metal— can lead to progress on both fronts.

U.S.-China collaboration makes excellent start in optimizing lithium to control fusion plasmas

China has the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) facility, a steady-state capable superconducting tokamak with many auxiliary systems being developed to qualify reactor-relevant technology.  As such, EAST is well-suited to address gaps in the physics basis for steady-state operation, plasma control, and plasma-material interfaces. Continued collaborations with EAST (ongoing since the start of the EAST project) enables U.S.

Scientists at PPPL further understanding of a process that causes heat loss in fusion devices

Everyone knows that the game of billiards involves balls careening off the sides of a pool table — but few people may know that the same principle applies to fusion reactions. How charged particles like electrons and atomic nuclei that make up plasma interact with the walls of doughnut-shaped devices known as tokamaks helps determine how efficiently fusion reactions occur. Specifically, in a phenomenon known as secondary electron emission (SEE), electrons strike the surface of the wall, causing other electrons to be emitted.

PPPL wins contract for plasma-materials interaction studies on EAST tokamak

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has been named principal investigator for a multi-institutional project to study plasma-materials interaction (PMI) on the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in China. The centerpiece of the PPPL role in this project is the optimization of lithium delivery systems. The tests will be designed to optimize the production of long-pulse plasmas that last from 30 seconds to more than one minute.

PPPL wins contract for plasma-materials interaction studies on EAST tokamak

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has been named principal investigator for a multi-institutional project to study plasma-materials interaction (PMI) on the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in China. The centerpiece of the PPPL role in this project is the optimization of lithium delivery systems. The tests will be designed to optimize the production of long-pulse plasmas that last from 30 seconds to more than one minute. This project is supported by Fusion Energy Sciences in the DOE Office of Science.

PPPL scientists help test innovative device to improve efficiency of tokamaks

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have helped design and test a component that could improve the performance of doughnut-shaped fusion facilities known as tokamaks. Called a "liquid lithium limiter," the device has circulated the protective liquid metal within the walls of China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) and kept the plasma from cooling down and halting fusion reactions. The journal Nuclear Fusion published results of the experiment in March 2016. The research was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

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