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  • richardmitnick 8:12 pm on March 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From PPPL: “PPPL extends system for suppressing instabilities to long-pulse experiments on KSTAR” 

    March 18, 2014
    John Greenwald

    PPPL collaborations have been instrumental in developing a system to suppress instabilities that could degrade the performance of a fusion plasma. PPPL has built and installed such a system on the DIII-D tokamak that General Atomics operates for the U.S. Department of Energy in San Diego and on the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facility in South Korea — and now is revising the KSTAR design to operate during extended plasma experiments. Suppressing instabilities will be vital for future fusion facilities such as ITER, the huge international project under construction in France.

    A look into the microwave launcher showing the steering mirrors that guide the beam into the plasma (Photo by PPPL)

    The system developed on DIII-D and then installed on KSTAR aims high-power microwave beams at instabilities called islands and generates electrical current that eliminates the islands. The process links software-controlled mirrors to detection equipment, creating a system that can respond to instabilities and suppress them within milliseconds. “It works like a scalpel that removes the island,” said PPPL physicist Raffi Nazikian, the head of the Laboratory’s collaboration with DIII-D.

    Revising the unit on KSTAR calls for adding a water-cooling system to keep the mirrors that direct the high-power microwaves into the plasma from overheating. KSTAR’s superconducting magnets can confine the plasma for up to 300 seconds during long-pulse experiments that reach temperatures far hotter than the 15-million degree Celsius core of the sun. “Once you get beyond 10 seconds you have to remove the heat as you put it in,” said PPPL engineer Robert Ellis, who designed the copper and copper-and-steel mirrors.

    Ellis was part of a team of PPPL physicists and engineers who worked closely with their counterparts at General Atomics to develop the original system on DIII-D. PPPL Physicist Egemen Kolemen, an expert in plasma control, created much of the software that automatically steers the mirrors and directs the microwave beams to their target. PPPL engineer Alexander Nagy also shared responsibility for the system, providing onsite support in San Diego.

    The microwave beams not only remove instabilities, but enable researchers to mimic the way that the alpha particles produced by fusion reactions will heat the plasma in ITER. While current heating methods typically heat the ions in plasma, these microwave beams act on the electrons instead. This process parallels what will happen in ITER. “By putting microwave power into the electrons,” Nazikian said, “we can experimentally simulate and study how a fusion plasma will be heated in ITER.”

    The revised KSTAR unit will extend such research to long-pulse plasma experiments when work on the water-cooled mirrors is completed later this year.

    See the full article here.

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

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  • richardmitnick 10:15 am on March 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From PPPL via DOE Pulse: “Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the tritium shot heard around the world” 

    DOE Pulse

    March 3, 2014

    No Writer Credit

    Tensions rose in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) as the seconds counted down. At stake was the first crucial test of a high-powered mixture of fuel for producing fusion energy. As the control-room clock reached “zero,” a flash of light on a closed-circuit television monitor marked a historic achievement: A world-record burst of more than 3 million watts of fusion energy — enough to momentarily light some 3,000 homes — fueled by the new high-powered mixture. The time was 11:08 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9, 1993.

    “There was a tremendous amount of cheering and clapping,” recalled PPPL physicist Rich Hawryluk, who headed the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR), the huge magnetic fusion facility — or tokamak — that produced the historic power. “People had been on pins and needles for a long time and finally it all came together.” It did so again the very next day when TFTR shattered the mark by creating more than six million watts of fusion energy.

    pppl tokamak
    PPPL Tokamak

    The achievements generated headlines around the world and laid the foundation for the development of fusion energy in facilities such as ITER, the vast international experiment being built in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power. The results delivered “important scientific confirmation of the path we are taking toward ITER,” said physicist Ed Synakowski, a PPPL diagnostics expert during the experiments and now associate director of the Office of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences at DOE. “I felt an important shift in the understanding of fusion’s likely reality with those experiments.”

    The breakthroughs proved the practicality of combining equal amounts of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and its radioactive cousin tritium — the same combination that will be used in ITER and future fusion power plants — to form the superhot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions. The deuterium-tritium (D-T) mix produced some 150 times more power than a reaction fueled solely by deuterium, long the stand-alone ingredient in tokamak experiments, or “shots.”

    “This was the first test with equal parts D-T and it was technically quite challenging,” said Michael Zarnstorff, a task-force leader during the experiments and now deputy director for research at PPPL. “What we did marked a huge advance in integrating tritium into fusion facilities.”

    Gained insights included precise measurement of the confinement and loss of alpha particles that fusion reactions release along with energetic neutrons. Good confinement of the alpha particles is critically important since they are to serve as the primary means of heating the plasma in ITER, and thereby producing a self-sustaining fusion reaction, or “burning plasma.”

    Exciting journey

    The historic shots capped years of intense preparation for tritium operations, which ran until TFTR was decommissioned in 1997 after setting more records and producing reams of new knowledge. “The journey to tritium was at least as exciting as the first experiments,” said former PPPL Director Ronald Davidson, who led the Laboratory during the tritium years. “It was an enormous technical undertaking and one of my greatest elements of pride in the PPPL staff was that the preparations were so good and so thorough that the tritium shots were successful early on in the D-T campaign.”

    The preparations mobilized physicists, engineers and staffers throughout the Laboratory. “The absolute top priority was to demonstrate that one could carry out the tritium experiments safely,” said former Deputy Director Dale Meade. “Everyone focused on this mission as we went through a step-by-step construction and checkout of the tritium systems with rigorous adherence to procedures and strong oversight by DOE.”

    Leaders of this effort included Jerry Levine, now head of the Environment, Safety, Health & Security Department at PPPL, and John DeLooper, who heads the Best Practices and Outreach Department. Levine’s team launched an environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act in 1989 and received DOE and state approval in 1992. “The purpose was to show that there would be no significant environmental impact as a result of tritium operations,” Levine noted. DeLooper’s team double-checked everything from operator training to preparations for storing and moving the tritium gas, which subsequently arrived in stainless steel containers from the Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina.

    In the towering TFTR test cell, engineers readied the three-story high, 695-ton tokamak to operate with tritium. Key tasks included adding more shielding, checking all major systems against possible failures and ensuring that every diagnostic device worked. “The major challenge was to bring everything on line so that failures didn’t happen,” said Mike Williams, the head of engineering at PPPL and also deputy head of TFTR at the time.

    Yet nothing could be certain until the experiment began. “The whole world was going to show up and we had lots of opportunity to fall on our faces,” said engineer Tim Stevenson, who headed the neutral beam operations that heated the plasma to temperatures of more than 100 million degrees centigrade during the shots. “All the instruments were tuned up,” Stevenson said, “but we still had to play the symphony.”

    Keeping the local community informed was another high-priority. PPPL leaders held open houses, met with local executives and government officials and conducted two public hearings before the arrival of tritium. Attendees at one hearing included a local college class that arrived at the urging of its professor.

    Scientists from around the world

    By the day of December 9, press coverage and Laboratory outreach had made PPPL a focus of attention. “Scientists from around the world flew in to witness the experiment,” recalled Rich Hawryluk. More than 100 local visitors flocked to the PPPL auditorium, where a closed-circuit TV feed displayed the control room and Ron Davidson and Dale Meade briefed the audience on unfolding developments. PPPL staffers and their families crowded around the viewing area that overlooked the control room.

    Reporters from several major newspapers covered the event. Also there was Mark Levenson, a reporter from New Jersey public TV station NJN whom the Lab hired to produce a video that subsequently received worldwide exposure.

    The source of all this excitement was surprisingly small: Just six-millionths of a gram of tritium was consumed that night in the shot that made global news. “Such tiny amounts generate huge energy because of the formula E = mc2” explained Charles Gentile, the head of tritium systems at PPPL. The celebrated Einstein equation states that the amount of energy in a body equals the mass of that body times the speed of light squared — an enormous number since light travels at 186,000 miles per second.

    The media seemed as eager as the scientists to watch the famed formula work. “The press people were enormously excited,” said now-retired physicist Ken Young, who headed the PPPL diagnostics department and led efforts to measure the confinement and loss of alpha particles during the experiments. “These reporters were seeing science as it happens and kept waiting for the shot.”

    Also anxiously waiting were more than 100 scientists, engineers and invited guests inside the control room, which normally held about 40 people. All sported red passes that the Laboratory gave to PPPL staffers and guests from DOE and institutions that collaborated on TFTR. “Everybody who could be in there was in there,” recalled Forrest Jobes, a now-retired physicist who kept those in the rear of the L-shaped room abreast of what was happening.

    Calling the shots

    Up front, physicist Jim Strachan was too intent on his job to be caught up in the exuberance. His task was literally to call the shots — to decide how much heating power to use, for example, and when to start the countdown. “Everyone in the group was out to get the most D-T power from reproducible shots,” the now-retired Strachan recalled. “I felt a lot of responsibility and didn’t want to foul up.”

    All eyes followed a closed-circuit TV monitor that displayed a neutron-sensitive scintillator screen in the TFTR test cell that glowed when struck by the neutrons that a D-T shot produced. Artfully covering this test-cell screen was a cardboard poster — designed by PPPL graphic artist Gregory Czechowicz at the behest of Dale Meade — with holes cut into the shape of a light bulb and letters spelling “Fusion Power.” Engineer George Renda designed the scintillator itself. A flash of light from the bulb and the letters in the 3-foot-by-3-foot poster that covered the screen signaled a successful shot. “We came to really count on that image,” said Ed Synakowski. “No need to wait for the computer system to process the data.”

    But there still was plenty of waiting while a series of hardware glitches dragged out the schedule. “Many people in the audience thought we were doing this intentionally to increase the suspense,” Meade recalled.

    By 11 p.m. the problems were solved — setting the stage for the record-breaking shot at 11:08 signaled by the brightly lit light bulb and “Fusion Power” sign on the TV monitor. The control room erupted in jubilation over the shot, which produced 3.8 million watts of power. The excitement reached even the normally staid control-room log, where an operator noted the historic event with the exclamation, “EEYAH”!

    On that high note the experiments ended and the control room opened for press interviews. NJN reporter Levenson returned to his studio to assemble a video news release that he uploaded to a satellite for worldwide distribution, sending the piece off at about 4 a.m. Key parts of the footage — including the control-room jubilation — were shown on nationwide newscasts the following evening.
    Looking back at these events, Hawryluk reflected on the sense of excitement, anticipation and relief that came with them. “We had worked so hard to finally get to that stage and we had done it,” he said. “That night on December 9 established a research capability that has enabled us to pursue a whole host of opportunities to advance the development of fusion energy.”

    See the full article here.

    DOE Pulse highlights work being done at the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. DOE’s laboratories house world-class facilities where more than 30,000 scientists and engineers perform cutting-edge research spanning DOE’s science, energy, National security and environmental quality missions. DOE Pulse is distributed twice each month.

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

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  • richardmitnick 5:22 pm on February 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Livermore Lab: “NIF experiments show initial gain in fusion fuel” 

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Breanna Bishop, LLNL, (925) 423-9802, bishop33@llnl.gov

    Ignition — the process of releasing fusion energy equal to or greater than the amount of energy used to confine the fuel — has long been considered the “holy grail” of inertial confinement fusion science. A key step along the path to ignition is to have “fuel gains” greater than unity, where the energy generated through fusion reactions exceeds the amount of energy deposited into the fusion fuel.

    A metallic case called a hohlraum holds the fuel capsule for NIF experiments. Target handling systems precisely position the target and freeze it to cryogenic temperatures (18 kelvins, or -427 degrees Fahrenheit) so that a fusion reaction is more easily achieved.
    Photo by Eduard Dewald/LLNL

    Though ignition remains the ultimate goal, the milestone of achieving fuel gains greater than 1 has been reached for the first time ever on any facility. In a paper published in the Feb. 12 online issue of the journal Nature, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) detail a series of experiments on the National Ignition Facility (NIF), which show an order of magnitude improvement in yield performance over past experiments.

    “What’s really exciting is that we are seeing a steadily increasing contribution to the yield coming from the boot-strapping process we call alpha-particle self-heating as we push the implosion a little harder each time,” said lead author Omar Hurricane.

    Boot-strapping results when alpha particles, helium nuclei produced in the deuterium-tritium (DT) fusion process, deposit their energy in the DT fuel, rather than escaping. The alpha particles further heat the fuel, increasing the rate of fusion reactions, thus producing more alpha particles. This feedback process is the mechanism that leads to ignition. As reported in Nature, the boot-strapping process has been demonstrated in a series of experiments in which the fusion yield has been systematically increased by more than a factor of 10 over previous approaches.

    The experimental series was carefully designed to avoid breakup of the plastic shell that surrounds and confines the DT fuel as it is compressed. It was hypothesized that the breakup was the source of degraded fusion yields observed in previous experiments. By modifying the laser pulse used to compress the fuel, the instability that causes break-up was suppressed. The higher yields that were obtained affirmed the hypothesis, and demonstrated the onset of boot-strapping.

    The experimental results have matched computer simulations much better than previous experiments, providing an important benchmark for the models used to predict the behavior of matter under conditions similar to those generated during a nuclear explosion, a primary goal for the NIF.

    The chief mission of NIF is to provide experimental insight and data for the National Nuclear Security Administration‘s science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program. This experiment represents an important milestone in the continuing demonstration that the stockpile can be kept safe, secure and reliable without a return to nuclear testing. Ignition physics and performance also play a key role in fundamental science, and for potential energy applications.

    “There is more work to do and physics problems that need to be addressed before we get to the end,” said Hurricane, “but our team is working to address all the challenges, and that’s what a scientific team thrives on.”

    Hurricane is joined by co-authors Debbie Callahan, Daniel Casey, Peter Celliers, Charlie Cerjan, Eduard Dewald, Thomas Dittrich, Tilo Doeppner, Denise Hinkel, Laura Berzak Hopkins, Sebastien Le Pape, Tammy Ma, Andrew MacPhee, Jose Milovich, Arthur Pak, Hye-Sook Park, Prav Patel, Bruce Remington, Jay Salmonson, Paul Springer and Riccardo Tommasini of LLNL, and John Kline of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 5:37 pm on January 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From PPPL: ‘Two PPPL-led teams win increased supercomputing time to study conditions inside fusion plasmas” 

    January 9, 2014
    John Greenwald

    Researchers led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have won highly competitive allocations of time on two of the world’s fastest supercomputers. The increased awards are designed to advance the development of nuclear fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for generating electricity.

    The allocations marked the second year of three-year grants from a DOE program to accelerate scientific discovery. The nationwide program, called Innovative and Novel Impact on Computational Theory and Experiment (INCITE), awards millions of computer core — or processor — hours for cutting-edge research on energy projects. For example, 100 million core hours on a supercomputer would equal roughly 100 million hours — or 11,000 years — on a desktop computer powered by a single processor. Powering supercomputers, by contrast, are hundreds of thousands of processors that run simultaneously and can accomplish in minutes what a desktop computer would take years to carry out.

    A multi-institutional center led by PPPL physicist C.S. Chang that studies the turbulent edge of the superhot, electrically charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions. Chang’s team, the Center for Edge Physics Simulation (EPSI), won a total of 229 million core hours — more than double the 100 million core hours the center received in its first-year and among the top three allotments in the INCITE program. Control of the edge will be crucial for sustaining a fusion reaction in ITER, an international tokamak under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power.

    An international team led by PPPL physicist William Tang that is developing a high-performance code to study the properties of plasma confinement. Such a code will be an essential ingredient for designing an efficient fusion reactor. The team, which includes U.S. and German researchers, won 50 million core hours on the IBM Blue Gene/Q machine at Argonne, up from 40 million core hours in the previous year’s allotment.

    See the full article here.

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

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  • richardmitnick 3:58 pm on September 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From PPPL: “Star Power” a cool video 

    PPPL is a leader in the quest for clean, abundant power from fusion. Here is a neat video on the subject.

    September 4, 2013
    Jeanne Jackson DeVoe

    “The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has released Star Power, a new informational video that uses dramatic and beautiful images and thought-provoking interviews to highlight the importance of the Laboratory’s research into magnetic fusion.

    The 10-minute movie will be shown to the thousands of visitors who come to PPPL on tours and is posted on the Laboratory’s website, http://www.pppl.gov as well as on PPPL’s Facebook page.

    The video features 19 PPPL “stars,” including Laboratory Director Stewart Prager and a host of scientists, engineers and technicians.

    ‘We wanted to create a new up-to-date video that shows the public the great work we are doing here at the Lab in a friendly, clear and compelling way,’ said Deputy Director for Operations Adam Cohen. ‘This video will be a powerful tool for conveying the essence of our efforts.’”

    See the full PPPL article here.

    And now, the video.

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

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  • richardmitnick 4:24 am on August 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Livermore Lab: “D2T3 to join the ranks at National Ignition Facility” 

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Breanna Bishop, LLNL, (925) 423-9802, bishop33@llnl.gov

    “A new employee will soon be added to the roster of those working on Level 2 of the National Ignition Facility’s (NIF) Target Bay. His name is D2T3, and his duties will be a bit different than his colleagues.

    D2T3 — named for the hydrogen isotopes that serve as fuel for NIF’s fusion targets — is a radiation-detecting, remote controlled robot. Currently in testing and training mode, he will be fully deployed in September after three years of development.

    System Manager Casey Schulz successfully running D2T3 through his paces, negotiating obstacles in the Target Bay.

    D2T3 has found his place in the NIF duty roster due to the continuing success of the facility’s experiments. As NIF laser shots continue to yield higher and higher neutron yields — a marker of the facility’s ultimate goal, fusion ignition – the immediate environment of the Target Bay is inhospitable to humans. Currently, the area remains sealed for a number of hours based on radiation decay models before radiation technicians enter to verify that levels are safe. As a safety precaution, this wait is longer than models predict to provide a safety buffer.

    Camera faceoff between TID’s Matthew Story and D2T3 in TB Level 2.

    However, D2T3 doesn’t have the same constraints as his human colleagues. He can patrol the Target Bay immediately after a shot and measure the remaining radiation levels, providing an accurate and timely notification for when it is safe to re-enter the area. He also can provide real-time decay information, allowing for fine-tuning of the current models.

    ‘This is the first actual, non-tethered robot we’ve got,’ said Casey Schulz, a mechanical and robotics engineer who serves as the system manager for D2T3. ‘It expands the capability of NIF, improves efficiency and maintains the high level of safety we require. It’s logically the next step as we continue to reach higher and higher neutron yields.’”

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 1:04 pm on March 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From PPPL Lab: “US ITER is a strong contributor in plan to enhance international sharing of prime ITER real estate” 

    March 28, 2013
    Lynne Degitz

    “When the ITER experimental fusion reactor begins operation in the 2020s, over 40 diagnostic tools will provide essential data to researchers seeking to understand plasma behavior and optimize fusion performance. But before the ITER tokamak is built, researchers need to determine an efficient way of fitting all of these tools into a limited number of shielded ports that will protect the delicate diagnostic hardware and other parts of the machine from neutron flux and intense heat. A port plug integration proposal developed with the US ITER diagnostics team has helped the international ITER collaboration arrive at a clever solution for safely housing all of the tokamak diagnostic devices.

    Iter Icon


    ‘Before horizontal or vertical modules were proposed, diagnostic teams were not constrained to any particular design space. When we started working on this, we suggested that there be some type of modular approach,’ said Russ Feder, a US ITER diagnostics contributor and Senior Mechanical Engineer at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. ‘Originally, we proposed four horizontal drawers for each port plug. But then analysis of electromagnetic forces on these horizontal modules showed that forces were too high and the project switched to the three vertical modules.’”

    The proposal has been formalized by two ITER procurement agreements in late 2012 between US ITER, based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the ITER Organization; other ITER partners are expected to make similar agreements this year.”

    PPPL’s Russell Feder, left, and David Johnson developed key features for a modular approach to housing the extensive diagnostic systems that will be installed on the ITER tokamak. (Photo credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications)

    See the full article here.

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

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  • richardmitnick 7:59 pm on March 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From PPPL: “Major Milestone: PPPL completes first quadrant of the heart of the National Spherical Torus Experiment upgrade” 

    March 18, 2013
    John Greenwald

    ‘If we had a script, I couldn’t think of a better outcome.’ That’s how Ron Strykowsky, head of the NSTX Upgrade, described recent results for a critical stage of the project’s construction. Riding on the outcome were months of work on the first quadrant of toroidal field conductors for the tokamak’s new center stack, which forms the heart of the $94 million upgrade.

    Mission accomplished: The completed first section of the NSTX-U center stack capped months of demanding preparations and close teamwork. (Photo credit: Elle Starkman, PPPL Office of Communications)

    The crucial stage called for sealing and insulating the first quadrant through a volatile process known as vacuum pressure impregnation (VPI). Preparing the nine 20 foot-long, 350-pound copper conductors for this step required the coordinated efforts of engineers and some dozen skilled technicians. The multiple tasks included soldering cooling tubes into the conductors under the direction of Steve Jurczynski, and sandblasting, priming and wrapping the units with fiberglass tape in operations led by Mike Anderson.

    The critical moment came when the process neared 100 degrees centigrade—the temperature at which water boils and the epoxy generates heat and turns solid in what is called an exothermic reaction. The danger was that a sudden runaway reaction could cause the epoxy to burn itself up and destroy the project. Adding uncertainty was the fact that PPPL had never before used this particular epoxy. ‘We held our breath and were on pins and needles,’ recalled engineer Steve Raftopolous.

    This is an exciting moment in the world of Fusion research. See the full article here.

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

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  • richardmitnick 9:44 am on March 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From PPPL: “Rajesh Maingi adds a new strategic dimension to fusion and plasma physics research” 

    March 14, 2013
    John Greenwald

    Physicist Rajesh Maingi remembers nearly everything. Results of experiments he did 20 years ago play back instantly in his mind, as do his credit card and bank account numbers.

    Rajesh Maingi. (Photo credit: Elle Starkman )

    Maingi brings his expertise to the new position of manager of edge physics and plasma-facing components at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The recently created post calls for coordinating all Laboratory research on the volatile edge of the plasma, which must be carefully controlled for fusion to take place, and on the crucial boundary between the plasma and the interior surfaces of a tokamak.


    at pr
    At PPPL

    The strategic position adds a new dimension to research at PPPL. ‘We’ve decided to pull all our activities in this area together and plan how to use them to make an impact in the fusion community and the world,’ said Michael Zarnstorff, deputy director for research at the Laboratory. ‘Rajesh is well-known around the world, particularly in tokamak physics. He has experience and perspective and strategic vision, and we see him as a great opportunity for the Lab.’”

    See the full article here.

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

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  • richardmitnick 3:29 pm on March 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    FRom PPPL: "A fast new method for measuring hard-to-diagnose 3D plasmas in fusion facilities" 

    March 12, 2013
    John Greenwald

    “Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and the National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) in Japan have developed a rapid method for meeting a key challenge for fusion science. The challenge has been to simulate the diagnostic measurement of plasmas produced by twisting, or 3D, magnetic fields in fusion facilities. While such fields characterize facilities called stellarators, otherwise symmetric, or 2D, facilities such as tokamaks also can benefit from 3D fields.

    A cutaway view of the ITER Project Tokamak reactor.

    Researchers led by PPPL physicist Sam Lazerson have now created a computer code that simulates the required diagnostics, and have validated the code on the Large Helical Device stellarator in Japan. Called ‘Diagno v2.0,’ the new program utilizes information from previous codes that simulate 3D plasmas without the diagnostic measurements. The addition of this new capability could, with further refinement, enable physicists to predict the outcome of 3D plasma experiments with a high degree of accuracy.

    A simulated plasma in the Large Helical Device showing the thin blue saddle coils that researchers used to make diagnostic measurements with the new computer code. (Photo credit: Graphic by Sam Lazerson)

    Lazerson and co-authors Satoru Sakakibara and Yasuhiro Suzuki of NIFS have published their paper online in the February issue of Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0741-3335/55/2/025014. The journal also is using a Lazerson graphic of a simulated plasma on the cover of its print edition. “

    See the full article here.

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

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