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Tokamaks

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A nuclear fusion reactor in which a magnetic field keeps charged, hot plasma moving in a doughnut-shaped vacuum container.

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.

Powder, not gas: A safer, more effective way to create a star on Earth

A major issue with operating ring-shaped fusion facilities known as tokamaks is keeping the plasma that fuels fusion reactions free of impurities that could reduce the efficiency of the reactions. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that sprinkling a type of powder into the plasma could aid in harnessing the ultra-hot gas within a tokamak facility to produce heat to create electricity without producing greenhouse gases or long-term radioactive waste.

Powder, not gas: A safer, more effective way to create a star on Earth

A major issue with operating ring-shaped fusion facilities known as tokamaks is keeping the plasma that fuels fusion reactions free of impurities that could reduce the efficiency of the reactions. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that sprinkling a type of powder into the plasma could aid in harnessing the ultra-hot gas within a tokamak facility to produce heat to create electricity without producing greenhouse gases or long-term radioactive waste.

Alex Nagy, a “creative and energetic” engineer, is named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow

Alex Nagy, an engineer who for four decades has been working on ways to heat and fuel plasmas in experiments aimed at harnessing the process that powers the sun and stars, was named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) at the State of the Lab address on Dec. 20. 

Nagy was honored for “creative designs of plasma heating and fueling systems employed in fusion devices worldwide.” The fellowship is part of PPPL’s Distinguished Research and Engineering Fellow Program and comes with a cash award.

Alex Nagy, a “creative and energetic” engineer, is named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow

Alex Nagy, an engineer who for four decades has been working on ways to heat and fuel plasmas in experiments aimed at harnessing the process that powers the sun and stars, was named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) at the State of the Lab address on Dec. 20. 

Nagy was honored for “creative designs of plasma heating and fueling systems employed in fusion devices worldwide.” The fellowship is part of PPPL’s Distinguished Research and Engineering Fellow Program and comes with a cash award.

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.

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