Laboratory heads project that could lead to method for optimizing long-pulse plasmas

Quest 2017

PPPL is principal investigator for a multi-institutional project to study plasma-material interaction on the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in China. The three-year project will test the ability of lithium to protect the EAST walls and prevent impurities from bouncing back into the core of the plasma and halting fusion reactions.

PPPL will use devices called flowing liquid lithium limiters, lithium powder injectors and lithium powder and granule injectors together with improved coating techniques to protect the plasma-facing components inside the EAST facility. Success of such efforts could point to a method for optimizing long-pulse plasmas.

“We’re trying to make a cohesive program so the things that we’ve learned in this country can be tried over there,” said physicist Rajesh Maingi, who leads the PPPL effort. “Then we can bring back what we learn there to help us at both the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) at PPPL and the DIII-D National Fusion Facility that General Atomics operates for the U.S. Department of Energy in San Diego.”

Collaborating with PPPL on the overall project are the Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories, along with Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois and the University of Tennessee.