Creating a star on Earth requires a delicate balance between pumping enormous amounts of energy into plasma to make it hot enough for fusion to occur and preventing that heat from escaping. Now, physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have identified a method by which instabilities can be tamed and heat can be prevented from leaking from the plasma, giving scientists a better grasp on how to optimize conditions for fusion in devices known as tokamaks.
Particle beam dynamics
The study of the physics of charged particle beams and the accelerators that produce them. This cross-disciplinary area intersects with fields such as plasma physics, high-energy density science, and ultra-fast lasers.
Steven Cowley, a theoretical physicist and international authority on fusion energy, became the seventh Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) on July 1 and will be Princeton professor of astrophysical sciences on September 1.
Key laboratory developments and discoveries during the past year.
Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), in collaboration with researchers in South Korea and Germany, have developed a theoretical framework for improving the stability and intensity of particle accelerator beams. Scientists use the high-energy beams, which must be stable and intense to work effectively, to unlock the ultimate structure of matter. Physicians use medical accelerators to produce beams that can zap cancer cells.
Hong Qin bestrides the globe as a leading scientist and educator. For the past four years he has shuttled between PPPL and a teaching post at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), which named him executive dean of its School of Nuclear Science and Technology in October. Hong takes up the position while maintaining his agenda as a principal research physicist in the PPPL Theory Department and his teaching in the Program in Plasma Physics at Princeton University, where he is a lecturer with the rank of professor in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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