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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.

Chirping is welcome in birds but not in fusion devices – scientists show that weak turbulence makes chirping more likely

Birds do it and so do doughnut-shaped fusion facilities called “tokamaks.” But tokamak chirping— a rapidly changing frequency wave that can be far above what the human ear can detect — is hardly welcome to researchers who seek to bring the fusion that powers the sun and stars to Earth.  Such chirping signals a loss of heat that can slow fusion reactions, a loss that has long puzzled scientists.

Powerful device to study puzzling process

A millisecond burst of light on a computer monitor signaled production of the first plasma in a powerful new device for advancing research into magnetic reconnection — a critical but little understood process that occurs throughout the universe. The first plasma, a milestone event signaling the beginning of research capabilities, was captured on camera on Sunday, March 4, at 8:13 p.m. at Jadwin Hall at Princeton University, and marked completion of the four-year construction of the device, the Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiment (FLARE).

Drifting and bouncing particles can help maintain stability in fusion plasmas

A key challenge in fusion research is maintaining the stability of the hot, charged plasma that fuels fusion reactions inside doughnut-shaped facilities called “tokamaks.” Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), have recently found that drifting particles in the plasma, which consists of free electrons and atomic nuclei, can forestall instabilities that reduce the pressure crucial to high-performance fusion reactions inside these facilities.

Drifting and bouncing particles can help maintain stability in fusion plasmas

A key challenge in fusion research is maintaining the stability of the hot, charged plasma that fuels fusion reactions inside doughnut-shaped facilities called “tokamaks.” Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), have recently found that drifting particles in the plasma, which consists of free electrons and atomic nuclei, can forestall instabilities that reduce the pressure crucial to high-performance fusion reactions inside these facilities.

Big steps toward control of production of tiny building blocks

Nanoparticles, superstrong and flexible structures such as carbon nanotubes that are measured in billionths of a meter — a diameter thousands of times thinner than a human hair — are used in everything from microchips to sporting goods to pharmaceutical products. But large-scale production of high-quality particles faces challenges ranging from improving the selectivity of the synthesis that creates them and the quality of the synthesized material to the development of economical and reliable synthesis processes. 

Plasma bubbles help trigger massive magnetic events in outer space

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have discovered key conditions that give rise to fast magnetic reconnection, the process that triggers solar flares, auroras, and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt signal transmissions and other electrical activities, including cell phone service. The process occurs when the magnetic field lines in plasma, the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei, break apart and violently reconnect, releasing vast amounts of energy.

Plasma bubbles help trigger massive magnetic events in outer space

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have discovered key conditions that give rise to fast magnetic reconnection, the process that triggers solar flares, auroras, and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt signal transmissions and other electrical activities, including cell phone service. The process occurs when the magnetic field lines in plasma, the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei, break apart and violently reconnect, releasing vast amounts of energy.

Fusion breakthroughs among highlights of the Department of Energy’s research milestones during the past 40 years

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, the largest U.S. supporter of basic research in the physical sciences, celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding in 2017.  To mark the 40th anniversary of Office of Science support for the country’s national laboratories and basic research at universities and private industry, the DOE has compiled 40 milestone papers that represent what the Department calls “a cream-of-the crop selection that has changed the face of science.”

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