A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research


Subscribe to RSS - Lithium

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.

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.

Physicist Tyler Abrams models lithium erosion in tokamaks

The world of fusion energy is a world of extremes. For instance, the center of the ultrahot plasma contained within the walls of doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks can reach temperatures well above the 15 million degrees Celsius core of the sun. And even though the portion of the plasma closer to the tokamak's inner walls is 10 to 20 times cooler, it still has enough energy to erode the layer of liquid lithium that may be used to coat components that face the plasma in future tokamaks.

Laboratory Director Stewart Prager heralds start of new era with NSTX-U and looks to future projects in “State of the Laboratory” address

The completion of the $94 million National Spherical Torus-Upgrade (NSTX-U) will usher in a decade of research that will lead to vital results for the international and national fusion programs and could lead the way to a next-step fusion facility, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Director Stewart Prager told staff members in his annual “State of the Laboratory” address on Oct. 5.

A little drop will do it: Tiny grains of lithium can dramatically improve the performance of fusion plasmas

Scientists from General Atomics and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that may quicken the development of fusion energy. Together with a team of researchers from across the United States, the scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically.


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

Website suggestions and feedback

Pinterest · Instagram · LinkedIn 

Princeton University Institutional Compliance Program

Privacy Policy · Sign In (for staff)

© 2021 Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. All rights reserved.

Princeton University
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
P.O. Box 451
Princeton, NJ 08543-0451
GPS: 100 Stellarator Road
Princeton, NJ, 08540
(609) 243-2000