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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.

Preventing damaging heat bursts at the edge of fusion plasmas

In a fusion energy device that creates a “star in a jar,” bursts of intense heat can damage the walls of the jar that holds the superhot plasma fueling fusion reactions. Fusion scientists now have shown that an innovative new model can serve as the basis for predicting the suppression of such outbursts in the DIII-D National Fusion Facility that General Atomics operates in San Diego.

Batten down the hatches: Preventing heat leaks to help create a star on Earth

Creating a star on Earth requires a delicate balance between pumping enormous amounts of energy into plasma to make it hot enough for fusion to occur and preventing that heat from escaping. Now, physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have identified a method by which instabilities can be tamed and heat can be prevented from leaking from the plasma, giving scientists a better grasp on how to optimize conditions for fusion in devices known as tokamaks.

Batten down the hatches: Preventing heat leaks to help create a star on Earth

Creating a star on Earth requires a delicate balance between pumping enormous amounts of energy into plasma to make it hot enough for fusion to occur and preventing that heat from escaping. Now, physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have identified a method by which instabilities can be tamed and heat can be prevented from leaking from the plasma, giving scientists a better grasp on how to optimize conditions for fusion in devices known as tokamaks.

Bank on it: Gains in one type of force produced by fusion disruptions are offset by losses in another

Doughnut-shaped tokamaks — facilities designed to reproduce the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars on Earth — must withstand forces that can be stronger than hurricanes created by disruptions in the plasma that fuels fusion reactions. Recent findings by physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) show that certain forces released by disruptions act in a surprising manner.

Bank on it: Gains in one type of force produced by fusion disruptions are offset by losses in another

Doughnut-shaped tokamaks — facilities designed to reproduce the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars on Earth — must withstand forces that can be stronger than hurricanes created by disruptions in the plasma that fuels fusion reactions. Recent findings by physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) show that certain forces released by disruptions act in a surprising manner.

Blowing bubbles: PPPL scientist confirms novel way to launch and drive current in fusion plasmas

An obstacle to generating fusion reactions inside facilities called tokamaks is that producing the current in plasma that helps create confining magnetic fields happens in pulses. Such pulses, generated by an electromagnet that runs down the center of the tokamak, would make the steady-state creation of fusion energy difficult to achieve. To address the problem, physicists have developed a technique known as transient coaxial helicity injection (CHI) to create a current that is not pulsed.

Blowing bubbles: PPPL scientist confirms novel way to launch and drive current in fusion plasmas

An obstacle to generating fusion reactions inside facilities called tokamaks is that producing the current in plasma that helps create confining magnetic fields happens in pulses. Such pulses, generated by an electromagnet that runs down the center of the tokamak, would make the steady-state creation of fusion energy difficult to achieve. To address the problem, physicists have developed a technique known as transient coaxial helicity injection (CHI) to create a current that is not pulsed.

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