PPPL scientists present key results at the 58th annual meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics

PPPL By John Greenwald | November 1, 2016

Simulation of plasmoid, left, and fast-camera image of experiment showing two plasmoid-like structures. Images taken from PPPL release, “Launching Fusion Reactions Without a Central Magnet, or Solenoid.” Simulation by Fatima Ebrahimi, PPPL; fast-camera image by Nishino-san, Hiroshima University.

More than 100 scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Laboratory (PPPL) have joined nearly 2,000 others from around the world in San Jose, California, this week to discuss the latest findings in plasma science and fusion research. PPPL physicists contributed to papers, talks and presentations ranging from astrophysical plasmas to magnetic fusion energy during the 58th annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Plasma Physics.

Topics included 14 presentations posted as news releases in the meeting’s virtual press room (link is external) during the October 31-November 4 event. Findings from PPPL include:

Launching Fusion Reactions Without a Central Magnet, or Solenoid (link is external)
Creating ring-like objects called “plasmoids” can do the trick.

A Disappearing Feast: Mean Flows Remain Slim After Eating Eddies (link is external)
Research at PPPL shows that the popular predator-prey model doesn’t work.

Steering a Fusion Plasma toward Stability (link is external)
Researchers show how to avoid instabilities, and potential damage to a fusion device, using an easily understood stability map.

Among other PPPL presentations was a graduate student paper on simulating a method for reducing instabilities:

Princeton graduate student Imène Goumiri creates computer program that helps stabilize fusion plasmas.

Scheduled during the week-long event is a Plasma Sciences Expo staffed by physicists and sponsored by the APS Division of Plasma Physics and the DOE. The hands-on Expo, held for the general public on Thursday, Nov. 3, and school groups on Nov. 3 and 4, enables creation of arcs of lightning and other examples of plasma, which makes up 99 percent of the visible universe and often is called the fourth state of matter. Also scheduled is a Science Teachers Day featuring instruction and workshops on November 1.

The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance knowledge of physics through research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents some 53,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. The Division of Plasma Physics was established in 1959, with its first elected chair the late Melvin B. Gottlieb, a former director of PPPL.