Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory for plasma physics and nuclear fusion science located just east of Princeton University's main campus in Princeton, New Jersey. Its primary mission is to develop the scientific understanding and the key innovations which will lead to an attractive fusion energy source.

Magnetic fusion research at Princeton began in 1951 under the code name Project Matterhorn. Lyman Spitzer, Jr., a professor of Astronomy at Princeton University, had for many years been involved in the study of very hot rarefied gases in interstellar space. Inspired by the fascinating but erroneous claims of controlled fusion achieved in Argentina by Ronald Richter, Spitzer during the lengthy intervals spent on a ski-lift was stimulated enough by the news to give further thought to fusion as told by Burke [The Knowledge Web: From Electronic Agents to Stonehenge and Back -- And Other Journeys Through Knowledge p.241-2, by James Burke (2000) - Simon & Shuster] . He conceived of a plasma being confined in a figure-eight-shaped tube by an externally generated magnetic field. He called this concept the stellarator, and took this design before the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington. As a result of this meeting and a review of the invention by designated scientists throughout the nation, the stellarator proposal was funded and Princeton University's controlled fusion effort was born. In 1958, magnetic fusion research was declassified allowing all nations to share their results openly.

For the past three decades, PPPL has been a leader in magnetic confinement experiments utilizing the tokamak approach. This work culminated in the world-record performance of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR), which operated at PPPL from 1982 to 1997 under the direction of Harold Furth. Beginning in 1993, TFTR was the first in the world to use 50/50 mixtures of deuterium-tritium, yielding an unprecedented 10.7 megawatts of fusion power.

PPPL researchers are now leading work on an advanced fusion device -- the National Spherical Torus Experiment -- and are developing other innovative concepts. Laboratory scientists are collaborating with researchers on fusion science and technology at other facilities, both domestic and foreign. Staff are applying knowledge gained in fusion research to a number of theoretical and experimental areas including materials science, solar physics, chemistry, and manufacturing.

The current director is Professor Robert J. Goldston. In July of 2008, Princeton named fusion researcher Stewart Prager as the new director, effective Fall 2008. [cite web |url=http://media-newswire.com/release_1068963.html |title=Press Release, Prager to lead DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory |format= |work= |accessdate=2008-08-09]

Current Major Research Projects and Experiments

*National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX)
*International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)
*Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR)

Plasma Science and Technology

* [http://htx.pppl.gov/ Hall Thruster Experiment] (HTX)
*Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX)
*Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX)
*Beam Dynamics and Nonneutral Plasma

Theoretical Plasma Physics

*DOE Scientific Simulation Initiative
*U.S. MHD Working Group
*Field Reversed Configuration (FRC) Theory Consortium
*Tokamak Physics Design and Analysis Codes
*TRANSP Code
*National Transport Code Collaboration (NTCC) Modules Library

References

External links

* [http://www.pppl.gov Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Official Website]


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