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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.

Transport Task Force (TTF) 2011

The ultimate goal of the work of the Transport Task Force is a predictive understanding of plasma transport leading, in the end, to transport control. As we have pointed out previously, to achieve success in transport science, it is essential to characterize local fluctuations and transport in toroidal plasma, to understand the basic mechanisms responsible for transport, and ultimately, to control these transport processes.

PPPL physicists win supercomputing time to simulate key energy and astrophysical phenomena

Three teams led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have won major blocks of time on two of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Two of the projects seek to advance the development of nuclear fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy by improving understanding of the superhot, electrically charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions.

COLLOQUIUM: Environmental Condensed Matter Physics

The physics of condensed matter provides a unique perspective on materials and systems of environmental relevance.   I discuss three ways in which concepts and methods of condensed matter physics bear upon the quest for a sustainable future.  Electronic devices made from metal oxides may enable new approaches to renewable energy, such as diodes that operate at optical frequencies to directly convert the electromagnetic field of sunlight to current.

Exploring Plasma Science Advances from Fusion Findings to Astrophysical Achievements

The latest advances in plasma physics were the focus of more than 1,000 scientists from around the world who gathered in Providence, R.I., from Oct. 29 through Nov. 2 for the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics (APS-DPP). Papers, posters and presentations ranged from fusion plasma discoveries applicable to ITER, to research on 3D magnetic fields and antimatter. In all, more than 1,800 papers were discussed during the week-long event.

Praise and suggestions for fusion research from a utility industry think tank

Research to develop fusion energy has shown “significant progress” in many areas, according to a new report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a think tank whose members represent some 90 percent of the electricity produced in the United States. At the same time, the report said that a commercial fusion power plant is at least 30 years away, and called for more research on the engineering challenges.

French landmark decree authorizes ITER construction

The French government has capped more than two years of review by issuing a license for the construction of ITER, the international fusion project that the European Union, the United States and five other countries are building in Cadarache, France, to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault signed the decree authorizing the license on Nov. 10, 2012. The move confirms the safety of the ITER project and clears the way for its construction.

Robert J Goldston

Robert Goldston is a professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University and an international leader in the fields of plasma physics and magnetic fusion energy.  From 1997 to 2009 he served as Director of PPPL. He is the author of 220 papers in journals and conference proceedings, and in 1995 co- authored with Paul Rutherford the textbook “Introduction to Plasma Physics.” He is a contributing author to five other books. In 1988, he was awarded the American Physical Society Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics.


U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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