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Scientists bet on Power of RF to Control Fusion Reactions

Research by scientists at Princeton University and the U.S. Division of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) points towards improved control of the troublesome magnetic islands in ITER, the worldwide tokamak under construction in France, and other future fusion facilities that can’t allow massive disruptions. “This analysis may open the door to improved control schemes previously deemed unobtainable,” stated Eduardo Rodriguez, a graduate pupil in the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics and first author of a paper in Physics of Plasmas that reviews the findings.

The research follows up on earlier work by Allan Reiman and Nat Fisch, which identified a brand new effect known as “RF current condensation” that may greatly facilitate the stabilization of magnetic islands. The new Physics of Plasmas paper exhibits tips on how to make optimal use of the impact.

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 parts in the form of plasma—the state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei—to generate massive amounts of energy in the solar and stars. Scientists worldwide are searching for to reproduce the method on Earth for a just about inexhaustible supply of safe and clean energy to generate electricity for all humanity.