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  • richardmitnick 3:04 pm on July 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How to grow a cosmic magnetic field", , , , Cosmic magnetic fields, , Inverse cascade, , MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering., , , , PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory   

    From MIT News: Women STEM – “How to grow a cosmic magnetic field” Muni Zhou 

    MIT News

    From MIT News

    July 21, 2020
    Paul Rivenberg | Plasma Science and Fusion Center

    1
    “Physics teaches us not only about what happens at the edge of the universe, but about what we observe in our environment every day, including our technology,” says PhD candidate Muni Zhou. Photo: Paul Rivenberg

    Graduate student Muni Zhou shows how tiny magnetic seed fields can expand to cosmic proportions.

    When Muni Zhou looks into a clear night sky, she might be focusing less on the stars and more on what cannot be seen with the eye. The MIT graduate student, now in her fourth year at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC), is fascinated by vast magnetic field structures that exist not only around planets like Earth, but beyond the heliosphere to the edges of the universe. How these cosmic magnetic fields originated and evolved is the longstanding theoretical puzzle she is helping to solve.

    Zhou’s interest in physics developed as a teenager in Shenzhen, China, one of the country’s technology hubs.

    “Physics teaches us not only about what happens at the edge of the universe, but about what we observe in our environment every day, including our technology,” she says. “It helps me understand the world around me.”

    As an undergraduate student at Zhejiang University she explored several fields of physics, eventually focusing on plasma science, excited by its application to fusion research with its potential for producing a reliable supply of carbon-free energy.

    Her fascination with the topic increased while working with the supportive community at the university’s Institute of Fusion Theory and Simulation (IFTS).

    A chance to be an exchange student at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) provided Zhou with her first serious research opportunity. The project focused on the physics of a tokamak, a fusion device that uses strong magnetic fields to contain and shape plasma while it is heated to extreme temperatures.

    PPPL NSTX-U

    The study, and the subsequent undergraduate thesis it generated, prepared her for similar research at MIT in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. With the guidance of her advisor, Professor Nuno Loureiro, her plasma research has taken an astrophysical turn, resulting in an article about cosmic magnetic structures, recently published in the Journal of Plasma Physics. NASA also acknowledged Zhou’s research with a Future Investigators of NASA Earth and Space Science Technology (FINESST) grant, which supports graduate student-designed projects that help to further the Science Mission Directorate’s science, technology, and exploration goals.

    Magnetic fields are ubiquitous in the universe.

    3
    Magnetic fields are created around moving charged particles

    They are dynamically important, participating in the formation of stars and galaxies. Cosmic magnetic fields possess intriguing gigantic-scale coherent structures.

    6
    Magnetic field data from the Whirlpool Galaxy, M51. Credit: MPIfR Bonn.

    Zhou explains that these structures could possibly evolve from miniscule-scale magnetic “seed fields,” which are generated by instabilities in the plasma medium that is part of astrophysical systems throughout the universe.

    “In supernova explosions, gamma-ray-burst jets or large-scale accretion shocks at the outskirts of galaxies during early stages of galaxy formation, these magnetic seed fields form at microscopic scales,” says Zhou. “But these tiny fields, through interaction with plasmas, can potentially increase their coherence length by many orders of magnitude to become the enormous astronomical-scale magnetic fields observed in the universe.”

    This so called “inverse cascade,” the process by which a magnetic field grows from small to large scale, is crucial in forming cosmic-scale magnetic fields.

    Zhou’s research is dependent on conceptualizing this plasma system with its seed fields as a sea of flux ropes — ropelike plasma structures threaded by magnetic field lines.

    “Now that we have simplified this complex astrophysical phenomenon to an idealized concept we can investigate,” she says, “the question becomes, what are the dynamics of this large ensemble of magnetic flux ropes? And can their interactions expand a small-scale magnetic field to much larger scales?”

    Zhou and her colleagues have found that the growth of a magnetic field’s scale depends on the coalescence of these flux ropes. This is facilitated by the process of magnetic reconnection, in which oppositely-directed magnetic field lines tear and reconnect, releasing magnetic energy.

    NASA Magnetic reconnection, Credit: M. Aschwanden et al. (LMSAL), TRACE, NASA

    When two flux ropes interact, their field lines reconnect, merging into a larger flux rope and expanding the scale of the magnetic field.

    When Zhou tested the phenomenon with supercomputer simulations, she observed that the system rapidly became chaotic when the flux ropes began interacting, developing an unconventional type of turbulence. Nevertheless, she was still able to observe the expansion of magnetic fields. The analytical model suggests that this interaction of flux-ropes can grow the magnetic field to larger scales.

    Loureiro, whose National Science Foundation CAREER Award funds this research, is impressed with Zhou and her results, noting that in their discussions she already feels more like a colleague than a student.

    “The problem she is working on is very hard, and yet she’s already made more progress on it than I could have reasonably expected,” he says. “I feel like this paper of hers really is a fundamental contribution that will be very impactful.”

    Zhou feels the results have a kind of beauty.

    “It is very elegant, to me,” she says. “In such a complex turbulent system, the plasmas self-organize. As a result, we see the formation of large-scale magnetic structures. It is a beautiful example of how order can emerge from chaos.”

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 10:34 am on July 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Physicists Just Showed How to Overcome a Huge Obstacle For Fusion Generator Efficiency", , , , , PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory,   

    From Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory via Science Alert: “Physicists Just Showed How to Overcome a Huge Obstacle For Fusion Generator Efficiency” 


    From Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert

    24 JULY 2020
    DAVID NIELD

    1
    The installation of the first piece of the ITER tokamak reactor. (ITER Organization/EJF Riche)

    Energy generated from nuclear fusion holds plenty of potential as a clean and almost limitless source of power, but many obstacles need to be overcome before it’s a practical reality – and scientists may have just clambered over another one.

    New models of an unwanted fusion phenomenon called ‘chirping’, where vital heat can be lost from the reaction process, have given experts a better idea of how it occurs and how to stop it from happening.

    As construction work on the fusion reactors of the future continues, that’s good knowledge to have in the public domain.

    The findings apply to a specific doughnut-shaped type of fusion reactor design called a tokamak, like the one being built at ITER in southern France.


    ITER Tokamak in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, which is in southern France

    These reactors rely on a delicate balance between external magnetic fields and the moving plasma’s own writhing magnetism to keep the entire fusion process flowing.

    “For any fusion device to work, you need to make sure that the highly energetic particles within it are very well confined within the plasma core,” says physicist Vinícius Duarte from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

    “If those particles drift to the edge of the plasma, you can’t sustain the steady-state burning plasma needed to make fusion-powered electricity a reality.”

    Chirping occurs when the frequencies of the high-energy plasma waves change, causing energy and heat to escape, and potentially causing damage to the sides of the tokamak. Thanks to the highly detailed, three-dimensional computer simulations produced by researchers, some of the mechanisms behind that behaviour have been identified.

    The models showed fast-moving particles in the core of the plasma hitting undulating waves flowing through the ionised gas. When this happens, clumps form that move towards the edge of the plasma stream.

    Reassuringly, the models match up with previous simulations, though the new research adds extra depth and detail to what’s actually going on inside the reactor. The ultimate effect is to reduce the efficiency of the tokamak, which isn’t something you really want when you’re trying to get a next-gen power source up and running.

    “If you understand it, you can find ways to operate fusion facilities without it,” says physicist Roscoe White.

    What scientists are trying to do with the tokamak and other nuclear fusion designs is to mimic the reactions happening on the Sun – no small challenge. If we get it right, this process of fusing two atomic nuclei into one should give us a way to generate electricity from something as simple as water and salt, with very few waste products.

    While the idea is a great one, getting it to work in a way which is reliable, affordable, and accessible to everyone is still some way off. Nonetheless, there are hopes that fusion energy could be contributing to the grid within the next 10 years.

    The simulations and software processing tools developed by the researchers here were custom-made for the job – like “building a microscope” to capture one specific phenomenon in White’s words – and the same models can be used again in the future to further analyse and improve the tokamak design.

    “The tools developed in this research have enabled a glimpse into the complicated, self-organised dynamics of the chirps in a tokamak,” says Duarte.

    The research has been published in the Physics of Plasmas.

    See the full article here .


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    PPPL campus

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.http://www.energy.gov.

    Princeton University campus

     
  • richardmitnick 7:38 am on May 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists explore the power of radio waves to help control fusion reactions", “RF [radio frequency] current condensation”, , , PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory   

    From PPPL: “Scientists explore the power of radio waves to help control fusion reactions” 


    From PPPL

    April 28, 2020
    John Greenwald

    A key challenge to capturing and controlling fusion energy on Earth is maintaining the stability of plasma — the electrically charged gas that fuels fusion reactions — and keeping it millions of degrees hot to launch and maintain fusion reactions. This challenge requires controlling magnetic islands, bubble-like structures that form in the plasma in doughnut-shaped tokamak fusion facilities. These islands can grow, cool the plasma and trigger disruptions — the sudden release of energy stored in the plasma — that can halt fusion reactions and seriously damage the fusion facilities that house them.

    Improved island control

    Research by scientists at Princeton University and at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) points toward improved control of the troublesome magnetic islands in ITER, the international tokamak under construction in France, and other future fusion facilities that cannot allow large disruptions.

    ITER experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor that is being built next to the Cadarache facility in Saint Paul les-Durance south of France

    “This research could open the door to improved control schemes previously deemed unobtainable,” said Eduardo Rodriguez, a graduate student in the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics and first author of a paper in Physics of Plasmas that reports the findings.

    The research follows up on previous work by Allan Reiman and Nat Fisch, which identified a new effect called “RF [radio frequency] current condensation” that can greatly facilitate the stabilization of magnetic islands. The new Physics of Plasmas paper shows how to make optimal use of the effect. Reiman is a Distinguished Research Fellow at PPPL and Fisch is a Princeton University professor and Director of the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics and Associate Director of Academic Affairs at PPPL.

    Fusion reactions combine light elements in the form of plasma — the state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei — to generate massive amounts of energy in the sun and stars. Scientists throughout the world are seeking to reproduce the process on Earth for a virtually inexhaustible supply of safe and clean power to generate electricity for all humanity.

    The new paper, based on a simplified analytical model, focuses on use of RF waves to heat the islands and drive electric current that causes them to shrink and disappear. When the temperature gets sufficiently high, complicated interactions can occur that lead to the RF current condensation effect, which concentrates the current in the center of the island and can greatly enhance the stabilization. But as the temperature increases, and the gradient of the temperature between the colder edge and the hot interior of the island grows larger, the gradient can drive instabilities that make it more difficult to increase the temperature further.

    Point-counterpoint

    This point-counterpoint is an important indicator of whether the RF waves will accomplish their stabilizing goal. “We analyze the interaction between the current condensation and the increased turbulence from the gradient the heating creates to determine whether the system is stabilized or not,” Rodriguez says. “We want the islands not to grow.” The new paper shows how to control the power and aiming of the waves to make optimal use of the RF current condensation effect, taking account of the instabilities. Focusing on this can lead to improved stabilization of fusion reactors,” Rodriguez said.

    The researchers now plan to introduce new aspects into the model to develop a more detailed investigation. Such steps include work being done towards including the condensation effect in computer codes to model the behavior of launched RF waves and their true effect. The technique would ultimately be used in designing optimal island stabilization schemes.

    The Program in Plasma Physics is a graduate program at Princeton University, academically located within the Department of Astrophysical Sciences. Support for this work comes from the DOE Office of Science through PPPL and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    PPPL campus

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.http://www.energy.gov.

    Princeton University campus

     
  • richardmitnick 12:04 pm on July 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Small but mighty: A mini plasma-powered satellite under construction may launch a new era in space exploration", A fleet of CubeSats, PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory,   

    From Princeton University and PPPL: “Small but mighty: A mini plasma-powered satellite under construction may launch a new era in space exploration” 

    Princeton University
    From Princeton University

    PPPL

    July 26, 2019
    John Greenwald, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    A tiny satellite under construction at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) could open new horizons in space exploration. Princeton University students are building the device, a cubic satellite or “CubeSat,” as a testbed for a miniaturized rocket thruster with unique capabilities being developed at PPPL.

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    The CubeSat’s thruster, whose development is led by PPPL physicist Yevgeny Raitses, holds the promise of increased flexibility for the tiny satellites, more than a thousand of which have been launched by universities, research centers and commercial interests around the world. The proposed propulsion device — powered by plasma — could raise and lower the orbits of CubeSats circling the Earth, a capability not broadly available to small spacecraft today, and would hold the potential for exploration of deep space.

    “Essentially, we will be able to use these miniature thrusters for many missions,” Raitses said.

    A fleet of CubeSats

    One example: A fleet made up of hundreds of such micropowered CubeSats could capture in fine detail the reconnection process in the magnetosphere, the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth, said physicist Masaaki Yamada. Yamada is the principal investigator of the PPPL Magnetic Reconnection Experiment, which studies magnetic reconnection — the separation and explosive snapping together of magnetic field lines in plasma that triggers auroras, solar flares and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell phone service and power grids on Earth.

    Key advantage

    The miniaturized engine scales down a cylindrical thruster with a high volume-to-surface geometry developed at the PPPL Hall Thruster Experiment, which Raitses leads and launched with PPPL physicist Nat Fisch in 1999. The experiment investigates the use of plasma — the state of matter composed of free-floating electrons and atomic nuclei, or ions — for space propulsion.

    A key advantage of the miniaturized cylindrical Hall thruster will be its ability to produce a higher density of rocket thrust than existing plasma thrusters used for most CubeSats now orbiting Earth. The miniaturized thruster can achieve both increased density and a high specific impulse — the technical term for how efficiently a rocket burns fuel — that will be many times greater than that produced by chemical rockets and cold-gas thrusters typically used on small satellites.

    High specific-impulse thrusters use much less fuel and can lengthen satellite missions, making them more cost-effective. Equally important is the fact that a high specific impulse can produce a large enough increase in a satellite’s momentum to enable the spacecraft to change orbits — a feature not available on currently orbiting CubeSats. Finally, high thrust density will enable satellites to accomplish complex fuel-optimized orbits in a reasonable time.

    These capabilities provide many benefits. For example, a CubeSat might descend to lower orbit to track hurricanes or monitor shoreline changes and return to a higher orbit where the drag force on a satellite is weaker, requiring less fuel for propulsion.

    The foot-long CubeSat, which Princeton has dubbed a “TigerSat,” consists of three 4-inch aluminum cubes stacked vertically together. Sensors, batteries, radio equipment and other instruments will fill the CubeSat, with a miniaturized thruster roughly equal in diameter to two U.S. quarters housed at either end. A thruster will fire to change orbits when the satellite passes the Earth’s equator.

    Mechanical and aerospace engineering students

    Building the CubeSat are some 10 Princeton graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, with Daniel Marlow, the Evans Crawford 1911 Professor of Physics, serving as faculty advisor. Undergraduates include Andrew Redd (Class of 2020), who leads design and construction of the CubeSat, and Seth Freeman (Class of 2022), who is working full-time on the project over the summer. Working on thruster development is Jacob Simmonds, a third-year graduate engineering student, whose thesis advisors are Raitses and Yamada. “This project began as a prototype of Yamada’s CubeSat and has evolved into its own project as a testbed for the plasma thruster,” Simmonds said.

    Also under construction at PPPL is a test facility designed to simulate key aspects of the CubeSat’s operation. Undergraduates working on their own time are building the satellite and this facility. “To the extent that students and their advisors have identified well-defined questions associated with the TigerSat project, they can get independent work credit,” Marlow said. “Also, some problem sets in the introductory physics course for undergraduates that I teach have questions related to the TigerSat flight plan.”

    Simmonds, while working on the thruster, is drafting a proposal for NASA’s Cubic Satellite Launch Initiative that is due in November. Projects selected by the Initiative, which promotes public-private technology partnerships and low-cost technology development, have launch costs covered on commercial and NASA vehicles. Plans call for a TigerSat launch in the fall of 2021.

    Value of collaboration

    For Raitses, this project demonstrates the value of Princeton engineering students collaborating with PPPL and of University faculty cooperating with the Laboratory. “This is something that is mutually beneficial,” he said, “and something that we want to encourage.”

    Support for the thruster work comes from Laboratory Directed Research and Development funds made available through the DOE Office of Science. Basic science aspects of the novel thruster based on low-temperature magnetized plasma is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Princeton University supports construction of the CubeSat and the test facility.

    PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit http://www.energy.gov/science.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.http://www.energy.gov.


    PPPL campus


    Princeton University campus

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    As a world-renowned research university, Princeton seeks to achieve the highest levels of distinction in the discovery and transmission of knowledge and understanding. At the same time, Princeton is distinctive among research universities in its commitment to undergraduate teaching.

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  • richardmitnick 12:24 pm on July 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: EMIC-electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves, Eun-Hwa Kim, , Plasma particles, PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory,   

    From PPPL: Women in STEM-“Scientists deepen understanding of the magnetic fields that surround the Earth and other planets” Eun-Hwa Kim 

    From PPPL

    July 12, 2019
    Raphael Rosen

    1
    PPPL physicist Eun-Hwa Kim (Photo by Elle Starkman)

    Vast rings of electrically charged particles encircle the Earth and other planets. Now, a team of scientists has completed research into waves that travel through this magnetic, electrically charged environment, known as the magnetosphere, deepening understanding of the region and its interaction with our own planet, and opening up new ways to study other planets across the galaxy.

    Magnetosphere of Earth, original bitmap from NASA. SVG rendering by Aaron Kaase

    The scientists, led by Eun-Hwa Kim, physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), examined a type of wave that travels through the magnetosphere. These waves, called electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves, reveal the temperature and the density of the plasma particles within the magnetosphere, among other qualities.

    “Waves are a kind of signal from the plasma,” said Kim, lead author of a paper that reported the findings in JGR Space Physics. “Therefore, the EMIC waves can be used as diagnostic tools to reveal some of the plasma’s characteristics.”

    Kim and researchers from Andrews University in Michigan and Kyung Hee University in South Korea focused their research on mode conversion, the way in which some EMIC waves form. During this process, other waves that compress along the direction they travel from outer space collide with Earth’s magnetosphere and trigger the formation of EMIC waves, which then zoom off at a particular angle and polarization — the direction in which all of the light waves are vibrating.

    Using PPPL computers, the scientists performed simulations showing that these mode-converted EMIC waves can propagate through the magnetosphere along magnetic field lines at a normal angle that is less than 90 degrees, in relation to the border of the region with space. Knowing such characteristics enables physicists to identify EMIC waves and gather information about the magnetosphere with limited initial information.

    A better understanding of the magnetosphere could provide detailed information about how Earth and other planets interact with their space environment. For instance, the waves could allow scientists to determine the density of elements like helium and oxygen in the magnetosphere, as well as learn more about the flow of charged particles from the sun that produces the aurora borealis.

    Moreover, engineers employ waves similar to EMIC waves to aid the heating of plasma in doughnut-shaped magnetic fusion devices known as tokamaks. So, studying the behavior of the waves in the magnetosphere could deepen insight into the creation of fusion energy, which takes place when plasma particles collide to form heavier particles. Scientists around the world seek to replicate fusion on Earth for a virtually inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity.

    Knowledge of EMIC waves could thus provide wide-ranging benefits. “We are really eager to understand the magnetosphere and how it mediates the effect that space weather has on our planet,” said Kim. “Being able to use EMIC waves as diagnostics would be very helpful.”

    This research was supported by the DOE’s Office of Science (Fusion Energy Sciences), the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    PPPL campus

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:12 am on June 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , INFUSE-Innovation Network for Fusion Energy program, , PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory   

    From Oak Ridge National Laboratory: “New DOE program connects fusion companies with national labs, taps ORNL to lead” 

    i1

    From Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    June 4, 2019

    The Department of Energy has established the Innovation Network for Fusion Energy program, or INFUSE, to encourage private-public research partnerships for overcoming challenges in fusion energy development.

    The program, sponsored by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) within DOE’s Office of Science, focuses on accelerating fusion energy development through research collaborations between industry and DOE’s national laboratory complex with its scientific expertise and facilities. The program is currently soliciting proposals and plans to select a number of projects for awards between $50,000 and $200,000 each, with a 20 percent project cost share for industry partners.

    “We believe there is a real potential for synergy between industry- and government-sponsored research efforts in fusion,” said James Van Dam, DOE Associate Director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences. “This innovative program will advance progress toward fusion energy by drawing on the combined expertise of researchers from both sectors.”

    2

    DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will manage the new program with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

    ORNL’s Dennis Youchison, a fusion engineer with extensive experience in plasma facing components, will serve as the director, and PPPL’s Ahmed Diallo, a physicist with expertise in laser diagnostics, will serve as deputy director.

    “I am excited about the potential of INFUSE and believe this step will instill a new vitality to the entire fusion community,” Youchison said. “With growing interest in developing cost-effective sources of fusion energy, INFUSE will help focus current research. Multiple private companies in the United States are pursuing fusion energy systems, and we want to contribute scientific solutions that help make fusion a reality.”

    Through INFUSE, companies can gain access to DOE’s world-leading facilities and researchers for tackling basic research challenges in developing fusion energy systems.

    INFUSE will help address enabling technologies, such as new and improved magnets; materials science, including engineered materials, testing and qualification; plasma diagnostic development; modeling and simulation; and magnetic fusion experimental capabilities.

    “These are core competencies across our national laboratories and areas where industry needs support,” Youchison said. “We have unique capabilities not found in the private sector, and this program will help lower barriers to collaboration and move fusion energy forward.”

    ORNL’s program management leverages its long-standing leadership in fusion science. The lab is home to the US ITER Project Office and employs scientists and engineers with expertise in plasma experimentation, blanket and fuel cycle research, materials development and computer modeling of fusion systems.

    ORNL is also home to key facilities for the development of fueling and disruption mitigation solutions.

    “When you look at nuclear science as a whole, ORNL has been a global leader for more than 75 years. Today, we have a site that allows for new and groundbreaking nuclear fusion experiments and resources that are not found anywhere else in the world,” Youchison said. “We can deliver impactful research to help in the pursuit of fusion energy deployment.”

    ORNL and PPPL are joined by Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories as participants in the INFUSE program. Proposal submissions are due June 30, and award notifications are expected August 10.

    See the full article here .


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    ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

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  • richardmitnick 7:46 pm on May 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adaptive Input/Output System (ADIOS) and the BigData Express (BDE), , , , PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory   

    From Fermilab and OLCF: “ADIOS and BigData Express offer new data streaming capabilities” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    From Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    1

    Projects large enough to run on high-performance computing (HPC) resources pack data—and a lot of it. Transferring this data between computational and experimental facilities is a challenging but necessary part of projects that rely on experiments to validate computational models.

    Staff at two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facilities — the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory — facilitated this process by executing the integration of the Adaptive Input/Output System (ADIOS) and the BigData Express (BDE) high-speed data transfer service.

    Now ADIOS and BDE developers are changing the way researchers can transport and analyze data by incorporating a new methodology into the tool that allows for compressing and streaming of data coming out of simulations in real time. The methodology is being tested by OLCF user C. S. Chang, a plasma physics researcher at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) who studies the properties of the plasmas that exist in giant fusion devices called tokamaks.

    PPPL NSTX -U at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, Princeton, NJ,USA

    Chang seeks an understanding of the power needed to run ITER and the heat load to the material wall that will surround its plasma, both of which are key to fusion’s viability.

    ITER Tokamak in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, which is in southern France

    ITER is an international collaboration working to design, construct, and assemble a burning plasma experiment that can demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power for the commercial power grid. ITER, which counts DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) among its partners, is currently under construction in southern France.

    “If users can separate out the most important pieces of data and move those to another processor that can recognize the intended prioritization and reduce the data, it can provide them with feedback that they may need to stop a simulation if necessary,” said Scott Klasky, leader of the ADIOS framework and group leader for ORNL’s Scientific Data Group.

    Wenji Wu, principal investigator of the BDE project and principal network research investigator of Fermilab’s Core Computing Division, added, “The new approach leverages the software-defining network [SDN] capabilities for resource scheduling and the high-performance data streaming capabilities of BDE.”

    SDN allows users to dynamically control network resources rather than manually request to connect.

    “This combination enables real-time data streaming with guaranteed quality of service, whether it be over short or long distances,” Wu said. “In addition, this approach yields small memory footprints.”

    Although the project is still in the development phase, preliminary tests allowed Chang and his team to successfully transfer fusion data between the OLCF — located at ORNL — and PPPL.

    “With this new methodology, users can stream data on the network without ever touching the file system and request network resources on the fly,” said ADIOS and BDE researcher Qing Liu, who has a joint appointment with the New Jersey Institute of Technology and ORNL.

    Without streaming capabilities, scientists can perform only after-the-fact analyses for many experiments, such as KSTAR, the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research.

    KSTAR Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research

    But with simulations and experiments increasing in size, near–real-time monitoring and control are becoming necessary. The new ADIOS–BDE integration could also play a major role in large experimental projects, such as the fusion project Chang is leading and the Square Kilometer Array, an effort involving dozens of institutions to build the world’s largest radio telescope.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    The new streaming capabilities could more easily enable the capture of short-lived events such as pulsars — neutron stars that emit electromagnetic radiation — that the telescope aims to record.

    “KSTAR wants to transfer their data as the experiment is happening, to process their data during the experiment,” Klasky said. “These additions to ADIOS will enable both sides to quickly perform data analysis and visualization in real time.”

    Seo-Young Noh, director of the Global Science Experimental Data Hub Center at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, leads a group that has contributed significantly to the BDE project.

    “Our work has made cross-Pacific, real-time data streaming possible,” Noh said.

    Klasky, Liu, and their collaborators will give a best paper plenary talk related to these new capabilities—titled “Understanding and Modeling Lossy Compression Schemes on HPC Scientific Data” — at the 32nd IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium. The team noted that the new ADIOS methodology will allow scientists to efficiently select the type of compression that will best fit their scientific and research needs, affording them the ability to analyze their data faster than ever before.

    Liang Zhang, the developer of BDE data streaming capabilities, is working with Liu to enhance and test the tool. They expect the tool’s new capabilities to be fully tested and deployed by late 2019. This work also involves ADIOS researcher Jason Wang and BDE researchers Nageswara Rao, Phil DeMar, Qiming Lu, Sajith Sasidharan, S. A. R. Shah, Jin Kim, and Huizhang Luo.

    ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 12:24 pm on December 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: As a result the fractal fibers can reduce secondary electron emission by up to 80 percent, , Charles Swanson and Igor Kaganovich, Feathers and whiskers help keep plasma superhot in fusion reactions, , , , PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, This work builds on previous experiments showing that surfaces with fibered textures can reduce the amount of secondary electron emission   

    From PPPL: “Feathers and whiskers help keep plasma superhot in fusion reactions” 


    PPPL

    December 21, 2017
    Raphael Rosen

    1
    Physicist Charles Swanson. (Photo by Elle Starkman/Office of Communications)

    Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found a way to prevent plasma — the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei — from causing short circuits in machines such as spacecraft thrusters, radar amplifiers, and particle accelerators. In findings published online in the Journal of Applied Physics, Charles Swanson and Igor Kaganovich report that applying microscopic structures that resemble feathers and whiskers to the surfaces inside these machines keeps them operating at peak performance.

    The physicists calculated that tiny fibers called “fractals,” because they look the same when viewed at different scales, can trap electrons dislodged from the interior surfaces by other electrons zooming in from the plasma. Researchers refer to the dislodged surface electrons as “secondary electron emissions” (SEE); trapping them prevents such particles from causing electric current that interferes with the functions of machines.

    Building on previous experiments

    This work builds on previous experiments showing that surfaces with fibered textures can reduce the amount of secondary electron emission. Past research has indicated that surfaces with plain fibers called “velvet” that lack feather-like branches can prevent about 50 percent of the secondary electrons from escaping into the plasma. The velvet only traps half of such electrons, since if the electrons from the plasma strike the fibers at a shallow angle the secondary electrons can bounce away without obstruction.

    “When we looked at velvet, we observed that it didn’t suppress SEE from shallowly incident electrons well,” Swanson said. “So we added another set of fibers to suppress the remaining secondary electrons and the fractal approach does appear to work nicely.”

    The new research shows that feathered fibers can capture secondary electrons produced by the electrons that approach from a shallow angle. As a result, the fractal fibers can reduce secondary electron emission by up to 80 percent.

    Swanson and Kaganovich verified the findings by performing computer calculations that compared velvet and fractal feathered textures. “We numerically simulated the emission of secondary electrons, initializing many particles and allowing them to follow ballistic, straight-line trajectories until they interacted with the surface,” Swanson said. “It was apparent that adding whiskers to the sides of the primary whiskers reduced the secondary electron yield dramatically.”

    Provisional patent

    The two scientists now have a provisional patent on the feathered-texture technique. This research was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and follows similar experimental work done at PPPL by other physicists. Specifically, Yevgeny Raitses, working at PPPL; Marlene Patino, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles; and Angela Capece, a professor at the College of New Jersey, have in the past year published experimental findings on how secondary electron emission is affected by different wall materials and structures, based on research they did at PPPL.

    See the full article here .

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    PPPL campus

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:56 pm on September 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory   

    From PPPL: “Research led by PPPL provides reassurance that heat flux will be manageable in ITER” 


    PPPL

    September 26, 2017
    John Greenwald

    1

    A major issue facing ITER, the international tokamak under construction in France that will be the first magnetic fusion device to produce net energy, is whether the crucial divertor plates that will exhaust waste heat from the device can withstand the high heat flux, or load, that will strike them. Alarming projections extrapolated from existing tokamaks suggest that the heat flux could be so narrow and concentrated as to damage the tungsten divertor plates in the seven-story, 23,000 ton tokamak and require frequent and costly repairs. This flux could be comparable to the heat load experienced by spacecraft re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

    New findings of an international team led by physicist C.S. Chang of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) paint a more positive picture. Results of the collaboration, which has spent two years simulating the heat flux, indicate that the width could be well within the capacity of the divertor plates to tolerate.

    Good news for ITER

    “This could be very good news for ITER,” Chang said of the findings, published in August in the journal Nuclear Fusion. “This indicates that ITER can produce 10 times more power than it consumes, as planned, without damaging the divertor plates prematurely.”

    At ITER, spokesperson Laban Coblentz, said the simulations were of great interest and highly relevant to the ITER project. He said ITER would be keen to see experimental benchmarking, performed for example by the Joint European Torus (JET) at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in the United Kingdom, to strengthen confidence in the simulation results.

    Joint European Torus, at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in the United Kingdom

    Chang’s team used the highly sophisticated XGC1 plasma turbulence computer simulation code developed at PPPL to create the new estimate. The simulation projected a width of 6 millimeters for the heat flux in ITER when measured in a standardized way among tokamaks, far greater than the less-than 1 millimeter width projected through use of experimental data.

    Deriving projections of narrow width from experimental data were researchers at major worldwide facilities. In the United States, these tokamaks were the National Spherical Torus Experiment before its upgrade at PPPL; the Alcator C-Mod facility at MIT, which ceased operations at the end of 2016; and the DIII-D National Fusion Facility that General Atomics operates for the DOE in San Diego.

    4
    National Spherical Torus Experiment at PPPL

    5
    Alcator C-Mod tokamak at MIT

    6
    DIII-D National Fusion Facility, San Diego

    Widely different conditions

    The discrepancy between the experimental projections and simulation predictions, said Chang, stems from the fact that conditions inside ITER will be too different from those in existing tokamaks for the empirical predictions to be valid. Key differences include the behavior of plasma particles within today’s machines compared with the expected behavior of particles in ITER. For example, while ions contribute significantly to the heat width in the three U.S. machines, turbulent electrons will play a greater role in ITER, rendering extrapolations unreliable.

    Chang’s team used basic physics principles, rather than empirical projections based on the data from existing machines, to derive the simulated wider prediction. The team first tested whether the code could predict the heat flux width produced in experiments on the U.S. tokamaks, and found the predictions to be valid.

    Researchers then used the code to project the width of the heat flux in an estimated model of ITER edge plasma. The simulation predicted the greater heat-flux width that will be sustainable within the current ITER design.

    Supercomputers enabled simulation

    Supercomputers made this simulation possible. Validating the code on the existing tokamaks and producing the findings took some 300 million core hours on Titan and Cori, two of the most powerful U.S. supercomputers, housed at the DOE’s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, respectively.

    ORNL Cray XK7 Titan Supercomputer

    NERSC Cray Cori II supercomputer

    A core hour is one processor, or core, running for one hour.

    Researchers from eight U.S. and European institutions collaborated on this research. In addition to PPPL, the institutions included ITER, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, the Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics at the Technical University of Vienna, General Atomics, MIT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    Support for this work comes from the DOE Office of Science Offices of Fusion Energy Sciences and Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    PPPL campus

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:05 pm on September 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , PPPL Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory   

    From PPPL: “PPPL has a new interim director and is moving ahead with construction of prototype magnets” 


    PPPL

    September 8, 2017
    Jeanne Jackson DeVoe

    1
    Rich Hawryluk (Photo by Elle Starkman )

    Rich Hawryluk has been appointed interim director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) while an international search for a permanent director moves forward, Princeton University Vice President for PPPL David McComas announced recently. Hawryluk, who has been heading the NSTX-U Recovery Project, is an internationally-known physicist and a former deputy director of PPPL.

    PPPL NSTX-U

    “Rich has earned my highest respect and the respect of his colleagues and staff at PPPL and of researchers throughout the world for his work as a scientist, project manager, and leader. I am delighted he has agreed to head the Laboratory as we move into the next phase of the NSTX-U recovery,” McComas said.

    Hawryluk said that he was grateful for the opportunity to lead the Laboratory where he has worked for more than four decades. “I feel deeply about this place,” he said. “It has given me enormous opportunities to do research, as well as scientific and technical management. I feel it’s incumbent on me to do all I possibly can to give the scientists and the engineers and the staff here exciting and productive scientific opportunities both in the near future as well for the long term.”

    Terry Brog, who served as interim director since September 2016, will return to his previous position as deputy director for operations and chief operating officer that he assumed in June of 2016. Stacia Zelick, who served as interim deputy director for operations under Brog, will continue to serve in a leadership role. Michael Zarnstorff, the deputy director for research, will remain in his position. Physicists Jon Menard, head of NSTX-U research and Stefan Gerhardt, deputy engineering director for the project, will now lead the NSTX-U Recovery Project. Charles Neumeyer will remain as the NSTX-U Recovery Project engineering director and deputy head of engineering for NSTX-U.

    The leadership change comes as PPPL moves ahead with constructing prototype magnets in preparation for replacing the one that failed last year and five others that were built under similar conditions.

    Construction of the first prototype magnet follows a comprehensive review of each system of NSTX-U by a team of engineers and scientists from PPPL as well as nearly 50 external experts from the United States and around the world.

    “For the Laboratory to succeed, we must utilize the talents, creativity and skills of all of the staff,” Hawryluk said. “My job is to enable other people to address the issues facing the Laboratory and to set a firm foundation for the future director.”

    Hawryluk and McComas both thanked Brog and Zelick for their leadership during the past several months. “I’m extremely grateful for all the work that Terry and Stacia have done in their respective roles over the last year,” McComas said. Hawryluk also noted that it was his pleasure to work with the NSTX-U team and, in particular, Charlie Neumeyer, Stefan Gerhardt and Jon Menard who “are very dedicated to bringing NSTX-U back on line.”

    The new interim director has been at PPPL for most of his career. He came to PPPL in 1974 after receiving a Ph.D. in physics from MIT. He headed the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor, then the largest magnetic confinement fusion facility in the United States, from 1991 to 1997. Hawryluk oversaw all research and technical operations as deputy director of the Laboratory for 11 years from 1997 to 2008. He was then head of PPPL’s ITER and Tokamaks Department from 2009 to 2011. From 2011 to 2013, Hawryluk worked at ITER in France, serving as the deputy director-general for the Administration Department of ITER.

    ITER Tokamak in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, which is in southern France

    In 2013, Hawryluk returned to the Laboratory as head of the ITER and Tokamaks department. He remained in that position until he became head of the Recovery Project last year. Hawryluk has received numerous awards during his career including a Department of Energy Distinguished Associate Award, a Kaul Foundation Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research and Technology, a Fusion Power Award, and an American Physical Society Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physicswith physicists Rob Goldston and James Strachan. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2008 and of the American Physical Society since 1986, he also chairs the board of editors of Nuclear Fusion, a monthly journal devoted to controlled fusion energy.

    Hawryluk and his wife Mary Katherine Hawryluk, a school psychologist working with special needs children at the New Road School in Parlin, New Jersey, met as undergraduates and have been married for 41 years. They have two grown sons: Kevin, who lives in Chicago, and David, who lives in Los Angeles. In his spare time, Hawryluk is an avid reader.

    “I’m taking on this task because I really believe in PPPL and its critical role in furthering the field of plasma physics with the goal of developing fusion energy,” Hawryluk said. “I am committed to addressing issues that are central to the long-term success of the Laboratory.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition


    PPPL campus

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

     
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