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Plasma physics

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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.

Former PPPL intern honored for outstanding machine learning poster

The American Physical Society (APS) has recognized a summer intern at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) for producing an outstanding research poster at the world-wide APS Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) gathering last October. The student, Marco Miller, a senior at Columbia University majoring in applied physics, used machine learning to accelerate a leading PPPL computer code known as XGC as a participant in the DOE’s Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program in 2019.

New model helps pave the way to bringing clean fusion energy down to Earth

Turbulence — the unruly swirling of fluid and air that mixes coffee and cream and can rattle airplanes in flight — causes heat loss that weakens efforts to reproduce on Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars. Now scientists have modeled a key source of the turbulence found in a fusion experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), paving the way for improving similar experiments to capture and control fusion energy.

State of the art simulations

New model helps pave the way to bringing clean fusion energy down to Earth

Turbulence — the unruly swirling of fluid and air that mixes coffee and cream and can rattle airplanes in flight — causes heat loss that weakens efforts to reproduce on Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars. Now scientists have modeled a key source of the turbulence found in a fusion experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), paving the way for improving similar experiments to capture and control fusion energy.

State of the art simulations

Team led by PPPL wins major computer time to help capture on Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars

Researchers led by C.S. Chang of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have been awarded major supercomputer time to address key issues for ITER, the international experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the practicality of fusion energy. The award, from the DOE’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, renews the third and final year of the team’s supercomputer allocation for the current round.

Among the largest awards

Team led by PPPL wins major computer time to help capture on Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars

Researchers led by C.S. Chang of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have been awarded major supercomputer time to address key issues for ITER, the international experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the practicality of fusion energy. The award, from the DOE’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, renews the third and final year of the team’s supercomputer allocation for the current round.

Among the largest awards

New computer code could help reach fusion faster

Scientists often make progress by coming up with new ways to look at old problems. That has happened at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), where physicists have used a simple insight to capture the complex effects of many high-frequency waves in a fusion plasma. These waves can force hot particles to escape from a fusion reactor, potentially impairing fusion energy production and damaging the reactor walls.

New computer code could help reach fusion faster

Scientists often make progress by coming up with new ways to look at old problems. That has happened at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), where physicists have used a simple insight to capture the complex effects of many high-frequency waves in a fusion plasma. These waves can force hot particles to escape from a fusion reactor, potentially impairing fusion energy production and damaging the reactor walls.

Ten not-to-be-missed PPPL stories from 2019 — plus a triple bonus!

Arms control robots, a new national facility, and accelerating the drive to bring the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars to Earth. These far-reaching achievements at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) made 2019 another remarkable year. Research at the only national laboratory devoted to fusion and plasma physics — the state of matter that makes up 99 percent of the visible universe — broke new ground in varied fields as vast as astrophysics and as tiny as nanotechnology.

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