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Plasma astrophysics

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A field of physics that is growing in interest worldwide that tackles such astrophysical phenomena as the source of violent space weather and the formation of stars.

A landmark plan for realizing fusion energy and advancing plasma science

Creating and controlling on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars is a key goal of scientists around the world. Production of this safe, clean and limitless energy could generate electricity for all humanity, and the possibility is growing closer to reality. Now a landmark report released this week by the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics Community Planning Process proposes immediate steps for the United States to take to accelerate U.S.

Particle beam could help map Earth’s magnetic field to understand how space weather impacts the planet

Magnetic field lines that wrap around the Earth protect our planet from cosmic rays. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have now found that beams of fast-moving particles launched toward Earth from a satellite could help map the precise shape of the field.

Investigating the trigger for a sudden explosive process that occurs throughout the universe

A long-standing puzzle in space science is what triggers fast magnetic reconnection, an explosive process that unfolds throughout the universe more rapidly than theory says it should. Solving the puzzle could enable scientists to better understand and anticipate the process, which ignites solar flares and magnetic space storms that can disrupt cell phone service and black out power grids on Earth.

PPPL findings: From new fusion developments to surprises in astrophysics at global plasma physics gathering

More than 155 researchers and students — the largest delegation from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in recent years — attended the 61st annual meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics (APS-DPP) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Small but mighty: A mini plasma-powered satellite now under construction may launch a new era in space exploration

A tiny satellite under construction at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) could open new horizons in space exploration.  Princeton University students are building the device, called a cubic satellite, or CubeSat, as a testbed for a miniaturized rocket thruster with unique capabilities being developed at PPPL.

Scientists deepen understanding of the magnetic fields that surround the Earth and other planets

Vast rings of electrically charged particles encircle the Earth and other planets. Now, a team of scientists has completed research into waves that travel through this magnetic, electrically charged environment, known as the magnetosphere, deepening understanding of the region and its interaction with our own planet, and opening up new ways to study other planets across the galaxy.


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

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