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The blob that ate the tokamak: Physicists gain understanding of how bubbles at the edge of plasmas can drain heat and reduce fusion reaction efficiency

To fuse hydrogen atoms into helium, doughnut-shaped devices called tokamaks must maintain the heat of the ultrahot plasma they control. But like boiling water, plasma has blobs, or bubbles, that percolate within the plasma edge, reducing the performance of the plasma by taking away heat that sustains the fusion reactions.

The blob that ate the tokamak: Physicists gain understanding of how bubbles at the edge of plasmas can drain heat and reduce fusion reaction efficiency

To fuse hydrogen atoms into helium, doughnut-shaped devices called tokamaks must maintain the heat of the ultrahot plasma they control. But like boiling water, plasma has blobs, or bubbles, that percolate within the plasma edge, reducing the performance of the plasma by taking away heat that sustains the fusion reactions.

PPPL takes detailed look at 2-D structure of turbulence in tokamaks

A key hurdle for fusion researchers is understanding turbulence, the ripples and eddies that can cause the superhot plasma that fuels fusion reactions to leak heat and particles and keep fusion from taking place. Comprehending and reducing turbulence will facilitate the development of fusion as a safe, clean and abundant source of energy for generating electricity from power plants around the world.

PPPL and General Atomics team up to make TRANSP code widely available

Plasma transport analysis, the study of how plasma particles, heat and momentum drift across magnetic field lines, is a necessary first step for understanding how well fusion reactors are performing.  Teams of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and General Atomics (GA) have joined forces to bring PPPL’s premier transport code, TRANSP, to beginning users and experts alike.

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