A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research

Plasma physics

Subscribe to RSS - Plasma physics

The study of plasma, a partially-ionized gas that is electrically conductive and able to be confined within a magnetic field, and how it releases energy.

Stewart Prager

Stewart Prager was the sixth director of PPPL. He joined the Laboratory in 2009 after a long career at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. At Wisconsin, he led research on the “Madison Symmetric Torus” (MST) experiment and headed a center that studied plasmas in both the laboratory and the cosmos. He also co-discovered the “bootstrap current” there—a key finding that has influenced the design of today’s tokamaks. He earned his PhD in plasma physics from Columbia University.

New model sheds light on key physics of magnetic islands that halt fusion reactions

Magnetic islands, bubble-like structures that form in fusion plasmas, can grow and disrupt the plasmas and damage the doughnut-shaped tokamak facilities that house fusion reactions. Recent research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has used large-scale computer simulations to produce a new model that could be key to understanding how the islands interact with the surrounding plasma as they grow and lead to disruptions.

Scientists improve ability to measure electrical properties of plasma

Any solid surface immersed within a plasma, including those in satellite engines and fusion reactors, is surrounded by a layer of electrical charge that determines the interaction between the surface and the plasma. Understanding the nature of this contact, which can affect the performance of the devices, often hinges on understanding how electrical charge is distributed around the surface. Now, recent research by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) indicates a way to more accurately measure these electrical properties.

Scientists improve ability to measure electrical properties of plasma

Any solid surface immersed within a plasma, including those in satellite engines and fusion reactors, is surrounded by a layer of electrical charge that determines the interaction between the surface and the plasma. Understanding the nature of this contact, which can affect the performance of the devices, often hinges on understanding how electrical charge is distributed around the surface. Now, recent research by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) indicates a way to more accurately measure these electrical properties.

PPPL physicists to create new X-ray diagnostics for the WEST fusion device in France

A team of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has won a DOE Office of Science award to develop new X-ray diagnostics for WEST — the Tungsten (W) Environment in Steady-state Tokamak — in Cadarache, France. The three-year, $1-million award will support construction of two new devices at PPPL, plus collaboration with French scientists and deployment of a post-doctoral researcher to test the installed devices at CAE Laboratories, the home of the WEST facility.

PPPL physicists to create new X-ray diagnostics for the WEST fusion device in France

A team of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has won a DOE Office of Science award to develop new X-ray diagnostics for WEST — the Tungsten (W) Environment in Steady-state Tokamak — in Cadarache, France. The three-year, $1-million award will support construction of two new devices at PPPL, plus collaboration with French scientists and deployment of a post-doctoral researcher to test the installed devices at CAE Laboratories, the home of the WEST facility. 

New testing of model improves confidence in the performance of ITER

Scientists seeking to bring fusion — the power that drives the sun and stars — down to Earth must first make the state of matter called plasma superhot enough to sustain fusion reactions. That calls for heating the plasma to many times the temperature of the core of the sun. In ITER, the international fusion facility being built in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power, the device will heat both the free electrons and the atomic nuclei — or ions — that make up the plasma.

Pages

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

Google+ · Pinterest · Instagram · Flipboard

PPPL is ISO-14001 certified

Princeton University Institutional Compliance Program

Privacy Policy

© 2018 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