A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research

Current Projects

In Situ Production of Radionuclide Technetium-99m

Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have developed a new process for the production of Molybdenum 99 (Mo-99), a man made radionuclide which decays (T 1/2 = 66 hours) to Technetium-99m (Tc-99m). Tc-99 m is a radioactive tracer isotope, used in the nuclear medical field for diagnostic imaging, for 2/3 of all diagnostic medical isotope procedures In the United States. Tc-99m has a relatively short half life of 6 hours, which makes it ideal in medical diagnostic tests where the patient only retains a minimal amount of radiation from the examination. Read more about Tc-99m here.

Plasma Treatment of Electrodes for Intelligent Materials

Ras Labs, LLC, a woman-owned small business, is committed to producing electroactive polymeric (EAP) materials and actuators for the design of novel robotics and realistic prosthetics in terms of appearance, range of motion, and strength. Smart materials, also called intelligent materials, respond by a change to external stimuli, such as electric input, and then relax back to their original size and shape when the stimulus is removed. These materials act, in effect, as artificial muscle. One major challenge is the interface between the embedded electrode and the electroactive polymer because of detachment caused by the differential movement between the electrode and the electroactive material. PPPL equipment is being used to treat stainless steel and titanium metal samples with plasma to modify the surface for improved bonding at the metal-polymer interface. Titanium, in particular, is a metal suitable for use within the body. A variety of different ions are being studied to find an optimum metal and plasma combination that solves the detachment problem. 

Development of a Miniature Integrated Nuclear Detection System

 The Miniature Nuclear Detection System (MINDS) has been designed to detect the presence of suspect nuclear material and identify the specific radionuclide or radionuclides in mixed ionizing radiation fields. The system is configured to detect nuclear material entering a site, passing through a tollbooth, placed inside of a shipping container, or hidden in other ways, under realistic conditions. The full system, which employs many off-the-shelf components is capable of detecting x-ray, soft gamma, gamma, and neutrons.

IFE Chamber and Subsystem Concepts

This program supports the conceptual development of safe, viable, and economical electrical generation from a direct-drive inertial fusion energy (IFE) power reactor. PPPL participated in the conceptual design of a magnetic intervention configuration to keep high-energy ions from interacting with reactor first-wall components. Additional activities continued with the on-going development of the vacuum pumping system, a helium brayton heat cycle design for the generation of electrical power, and an integrated reactor core design which incorporates infrastructure with optical shielding. This program is supported by NASA.

CO2 Cooling for Diamond Wire Cutting

 PPPL engineers are collaborating with Wrightworks on the design of a CO2-cooled diamond wire cutting system for the removal of turbines used in the power industry.

Gas Fill FTF Target Chamber

 The purpose of this work with the Naval Research Laboratory is to investigate a conceptual design for a gas fill Fusion Test Facility (FTF) target chamber, investigate blower and pumping system technologies to support FTF gas fill, and investigate blower and pumping capabilities operating in corrosive and activated gas environments for possible collateral applications associated with laser driven, direct drive, inertial fusion energy power generation.

Questions or comments? Please contact Laurie Bagley at lbagley@pppl.gov .

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

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