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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.

Steve Cowley: The knight who leads the Lab has “the most fun job”

“It’s just all been fun, and this is the most fun job I’ve ever had,” Steve Cowley says of his much-decorated career and his new position, which he assumed July 1, as the seventh director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) — the place where the British-born physicist earned his doctorate and that he calls “the most important fusion laboratory in the world.”

Knighted in October 

From the cosmos to fusion plasmas, PPPL presents findings at global APS gathering

More than 135 researchers and students from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) presented their latest findings at the 60th annual meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics — a worldwide gathering focused on fundamental plasma science research and discoveries. Some 1,700 participants from more than two dozen countries joined the November 5-to-9 event in Portland, Oregon, presenting posters and talks on topics ranging from astrophysical plasmas to nanotechnology to magnetic confinement fusion experiments.

Turbulence in space might solve outstanding astrophysical mystery

Contrary to what many people believe, outer space is not empty. In addition to an electrically charged soup of ions and electrons known as plasma, space is permeated by magnetic fields with a wide range of strengths. Astrophysicists have long wondered how those fields are produced, sustained, and magnified. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have shown that plasma turbulence might be responsible, providing a possible answer to what has been called one of the most important unsolved problems in plasma astrophysics.

Turbulence in space might solve outstanding astrophysical mystery

Contrary to what many people believe, outer space is not empty. In addition to an electrically charged soup of ions and electrons known as plasma, space is permeated by magnetic fields with a wide range of strengths. Astrophysicists have long wondered how those fields are produced, sustained, and magnified. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have shown that plasma turbulence might be responsible, providing a possible answer to what has been called one of the most important unsolved problems in plasma astrophysics.

Surprise finding: Discovering a previously unknown role for a source of magnetic fields

Magnetic forces ripple throughout the universe, from the fields surrounding planets to the gasses filling galaxies, and can be launched by a phenomenon called the Biermann battery effect. Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that this phenomenon may not only generate magnetic fields, but can sever them to trigger magnetic reconnection – a remarkable and surprising discovery.

New simulations confirm efficiency of waste-removal process in plasma device

Just as fire produces ash, the combining of light elements in fusion reactions can produce material that eventually interferes with those same reactions. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found evidence suggesting that a process could remove the unwanted material and make the fusion processes more efficient within a type of fusion facility known as a field-reversed configuration (FRC) device.

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