Physicist Brian Grierson of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has won a highly competitive Early Career Research Program award sponsored by the DOE’s Office of Science. The five-year grant will total some $2.5 million and fund exploration of the mechanisms that govern the formation and maintenance of the hot edge of fusion plasmas — the electrically charged gas that results in fusion reactions in facilities called tokamaks. The work will be carried out on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego.
The tools used by researchers to assess the characteristics of superheated and electrically charged gases known as plasmas.
With the potential to provide clean, safe, and abundant energy, nuclear fusion has been called the “holy grail” of energy production. But harnessing energy from fusion, the process that powers the sun, has proven to be an extremely difficult challenge.
Scientists have been working to accomplish efficient, self-sustaining fusion reactions for decades, and significant research and development efforts continue in several countries today.
A key issue for the development of fusion energy to generate electricity is the ability to confine the superhot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions in magnetic devices called tokamaks. This gas is subject to instabilities that cause it to leak from the magnetic fields and halt fusion reactions.
More than 1,500 researchers, including scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), have gathered in Denver, Colorado, for the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s (APS) Division of Plasma Physics (DPP).
The Lithium Tokamak eXperiment (LTX) will be discussed in the context of a more general program goal - to develop a compact realization of a tokamak fusion reactor. The general requirements for more compact tokamak reactors will be briefly discussed. The LTX project can investigate some, but not all, of these requirements, on a small scale. Recent results from LTX will be presented. Finally, the development of a toroidal system to test flowing liquid lithium walls, aimed at eventual implementation in a compact D-T tokamak, will be discussed.
PPPL physicists David Gates and Charles Skinner have been named as American Physical Society fellows – a prestigious honor that is given to only one half of one percent of all APS members each year.
Gates, a principal research physicist and stellarator physics lead who has been at PPPL for 16 years, and Skinner, a principal research physicist at PPPL for 31 years whose work has focused on spectroscopy and plasma-wall interactions, will be honored at the APS Division of Plasma Physics meeting in Denver Nov. 11 to 15. The two bring the total number of APS fellows at PPPL to 51.
Dutch graduate student Jasper van Rens recently completed a three-month assignment at PPPL to study a diagnostic technique that will be crucial to the success of ITER, the huge international fusion facility under construction in France. Working with Fred Levinton and Howard Yuh of PPPL subcontractor Nova Photonics, Van Rens investigated the impact of reflected light on the ITER Motional Stark Effect (MSE) instrument, which measures the internal magnetic configuration of fusion plasmas.
Leading experts from around the world gathered at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in July to focus on a key issue for the development of fusion energy: Improving ways to predict and mitigate disruptions that can destroy magnetically confined plasmas that are needed for fusion reactions.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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