Energy

  • Jeff Thompson recognized by Department of Energy with Early Career Award

    Friday, Aug 2, 2019
    by Scott Lyon, Office of Engineering Communications

    The U.S. Department of Energy has named Jeff Thompson the recipient of a 2019 Early Career Award, with five years of significant funding from the department's Office of Science.

    Thompson, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, uses optical circuits to isolate and manipulate individual atoms in crystals. He said these atoms may be used as quantum bits, the fundamental building blocks of quantum communication and computing devices.

  • A small number of leaky natural gas wells produce large emissions of greenhouse gases

    Thursday, Aug 1, 2019
    by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

    Wells that extract natural gas from underground often leak large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the air. A team of Princeton University researchers has found that, in one of the biggest gas-producing regions, most of these emissions come from a tiny subset of the wells, a finding with major implications for how to control the problem. 

  • PPPL apprenticeship program offers young people the chance to earn while they learn high-tech careers

    Wednesday, Jul 31, 2019
    by jdevoe

    Young people enrolled in the pre-apprenticeship program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are shadowing skilled technicians on tasks such as welding components for PPPL’s flagship fusion experiment or repairing the massive motor generators that power it. As they learn,  they are preparing for their own future.   

  • A shock to behold: Earthbound scientists complement space missions by reproducing the dynamics behind astronomical shocks

    Monday, Jul 29, 2019
    by jgreenwa

    High-energy shock waves driven by solar flares and coronal mass ejections of plasma from the sun erupt throughout the solar system, unleashing magnetic space storms that can damage satellites, disrupt cell phone service and blackout power grids on Earth. Also driving high-energy waves is the solar wind — plasma that constantly flows from the sun and buffets the Earth’s protective magnetic field.

  • Small but mighty: A mini plasma-powered satellite under construction may launch a new era in space exploration

    Friday, Jul 26, 2019
    by 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.

  • Seeing more clearly: Revised computer code accurately models an instability in fusion plasmas

    Wednesday, Jul 24, 2019
    by Raphael Rosen, PPPL

    Subatomic particles zip around ring-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks and sometimes merge, releasing large amounts of energy. But these particles — a soup of charged electrons and atomic nuclei, or ions, collectively known as plasma — can sometimes leak out of the magnetic fields that confine them inside tokamaks. The leakage cools the plasma, reducing the efficiency of the fusion reactions and damaging the machine. Now, physicists have confirmed that an updated computer code could help to predict and ultimately prevent such leaks from happening.

  • Discovered: A new way to measure the stability of next-generation magnetic fusion devices

    Wednesday, Jul 10, 2019
    by John Greenwald, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Scientists seeking to bring to Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars must control the hot, charged plasma — the state of matter composed of free-floating electrons and atomic nuclei, or ions — that fuels fusion reactions. For scientists who confine the plasma in magnetic fields, a key task calls for mapping the shape of the fields, a process known as measuring the equilibrium, or stability, of the plasma. At the U.S.

  • Tiny granules can help bring clean and abundant fusion power to Earth

    Tuesday, Jul 2, 2019
    by Raphael Rosen, PPPL

    Beryllium, a hard, silvery metal long used in X-ray machines and spacecraft, is finding a new role in the quest to bring the power that drives the sun and stars to Earth. Beryllium is one of the two main materials used for the wall in ITER, a multinational fusion facility under construction in France to demonstrate the practicality of fusion power. Now, physicists from the U.S.

  • Will Fox wins 2019 Thomas H. Stix Award for early career contributions to plasma physics

    Monday, Jul 1, 2019
    by John Greenwald, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Leadership of laboratory experiments that bring astrophysical processes down to Earth has won physicist Will Fox the 2019 Thomas H. Stix Award.  The American Physical Society (APS) honor, which recognizes outstanding early career contributions to plasma physics, was established in 2013 in the name of the late Thomas H. Stix, the pioneering plasma researcher who founded the graduate plasma physics program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

    Original and seminal experiments

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