Engineering at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Engineers at PPPL play a key role in its mission to explore plasma science and develop fusion as an attractive energy source for the future. They work in close collaboration with world-class physicists, applying the art of engineering to the solution of challenging scientific problems. In fact, plasma physics and fusion research are at the forefront of science and technology, and the development of fusion as an attractive energy source is viewed as one of the grand challenges of the 21st century.
The practice of engineering on PPPL’s experimental devices covers a rich diversity of disciplines and applications. For example, the confinement and heating of a plasma at thermonuclear conditions in a tokamak, or fusion device, involves the precise application and manipulation of electrical power, electromagnetic fields, structural loads, heat flux, and particle flux at extremely high levels rarely encountered in other engineering applications. To manage these loads, engineers design complex electrical and mechanical systems using sophisticated analysis tools to realize state-of-the-art components and materials. Operation of the experimental devices relies on advanced, real-time feedback control and protection systems as well as a multitude of diagnostic sensors with high-speed, high-throughput data acquisition systems. The experimental devices that PPPL engineers design, construct and operate truly are unique, complex, and powerful.
PPPL has been a world-leader in fusion energy research since its beginnings in 1951. Decades of research at PPPL, and other laboratories in the United States and internationally, have followed a strong tradition of collaboration. This has led the world to embark on the ITER project (www.iter.org), an international effort to construct the world’s first power plant-scale fusion reactor, in which PPPL is closely involved. In addition, PPPL engineers and scientists collaborate on an array of fusion experiments worldwide, providing the opportunity for a rich and stimulating career.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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