PSFC Seminars

Seminars are currently being held as hybrid events. 
For further information & zoom link:
PSFC address: NW17-218, 175 Albany Street, Cambridge

May 21, 2024

Advances in optimization for stellarator design

Elizabeth Paul

Columbia University

We present pathways to model and optimize the alpha transport driven by Alfvenic instabilities through modification of the resonance structure and shear Alfven continuum. We discuss the incorporation of engineering constraints, such as HTS strain and remote maintenance compatibility, into the stellarator design process. 

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

May 14, 2024

Studies of the influence of laser focusing and plasma profile on Direct Laser Acceleration

Louise Willingale

University of Michigan

Direct Laser Acceleration (DLA) of electrons is a mechanism for superponderomotive energy gain during relativistically intense laser-plasma interactions. As laser facilities reach multi-petawatt powers, DLA will be increasingly important as the main energy exchange mode between the laser and the plasma. The ponderomotive force of the laser pulse acts on the plasma to form a channel with transverse electric and azimuthal magnetic fields that enable energy exchange from the laser to the electrons.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

May 7, 2024

Advances in Sheared-Flow-Stabilized Z Pinch Fusion Platforms at Zap Energy

Ben Levitt & Derek Sutherland

ZAP Energy

In this presentation, we will introduce Zap Energy, the SFS Z-pinch concept, and report recent results from both experimental platforms, demonstrating operation with thermonuclear plasmas.  Electron temperatures in excess of 2 keV are measured with Thomson scattering, placing a lower bound on ion temperature, which is also independently inferred from impurity radiation spectra to be greater than 2.5 keV.  Simultaneous Thomson electron density measurements result in pinch pressure profiles in agreement with predictions by analytical and computational models.  These devices produce DD neutron yields that scale strongly with plasma current (Yn~I11) up to absolute yields ~1010 neutrons/pulse, consistent with adiabatic scaling of a SFS Z pinch and with 2D MHD modeling results.  These recent advances in performance constitute a factor of 10^5 improvement in fusion yield since 2021. 

12:00pm  |  Zoom Only

Apr 30, 2024

 MHD Energy Conversion Revisited Application of a Caspar Milquetoast Plasma

Jeff Freidberg


We have developed a new, self-consistent, quasi 1-D plus time analytic model for Faraday, Hall, and diagonal MHD generators in linear and cylindrical disk geometries.  The models have been applied to open cycle MHD systems (fossil fuels) as well as closed cycle systems (fission, fusion) to quantify the impact of high magnetic field on MHD generator performance.  Detailed results, largely favorable, will be presented at the seminar.  For those unfamiliar with Caspar Milquetoast, he too will be described at the seminar, including the reason why he is important for MHD energy conversion.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Mar 19, 2024

Priority physics topics for COMPASS Upgrade tokamak

Michael Komm & Petr Vondracek

Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences

We present an overview of the priority topics for the physics programme of the future high field tokamak COMPASS Upgrade

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Mar 12, 2024

Exploring Uncharted Territories: DIII-D Negative Triangularity Studies

Kathreen Thome

Negative Triangularity (NT) is a potentially transformative scenario for fusion energy with its high-performance core, L-mode-like edge, and low-field-side divertors that could readily scale to an integrated reactor solution free of ELMs. Benefits of the NT shape were originally demonstrated on the TCV tokamak and high-performance has been previously achieved on DIII-D, which motivated the installation of graphite-tile armor on the low-field-side lower outer wall to attain high-power diverted plasmas with strong negative triangularity

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Mar 5, 2024

Magnetized indirect drive implosions on the National Ignition Facility

John Moody


Having achieved nuclear fusion target gain greater than 1, research on NIF continues to explore implosion designs that increase the fusion yield.  Near term experiments are investigating B-field mitigation of hydro instability mix and other magnetization effects on the implosion.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Feb 27, 2024

Lessons Learned from the ITER Project Experience

Kathy McCarthy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

This presentation will review key lessons from US ITER’s experience and highlight additional learning from the international project.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Feb 20, 2024

Report on the 2024 Geophysical Plasma Observational Expedition to Fairbanks, AK

Shon Mackie & John Ball


An expedition to Fairbanks, AK was undertaken during IAP by a team of eight graduate students to observe the geophysical plasma discharge known as Aurora Borealis. We report on the observations made during the expedition and preliminary findings of the collected data, including photos, videos, magnetic field traces, spectra, and RF emissions.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Feb 13, 2024

Gamma ray detection: a powerful tool for controlled nuclear fusion

Andrea Dal Molin


This brief presentation provides an overview of the various gamma-ray detection techniques and the valuable information they provide on plasma impurities, fast ions and runaway electrons. It discusses the range of operations and challenges associated with the different techniques.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Dec 19, 2023

Direct-Drive Inertial Confinement Fusion: Overview and Status

Radha Bahukutumbi

Laboratory for Laser Energetics

In this talk I will describe results from OMEGA implosion experiments. I will also discuss the physics at the megajoule (NIF) or ignition scale that play an important role in the extrapolation of OMEGA implosion performance. Results from direct-drive experiments on the NIF will be presented and the prospects for ignition discussed.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Dec 12, 2023

Fuel Cycle and Blanket Research for Fusion Commercialization at SRNL

Brenda Garcia-Diaz

Savannah River National Laboratory

To assist in fusion commercialization, SRNL is consulting with DOE, NNSA, and community members on topics including nonproliferation, waste disposal, fusion regulation, workforce development, community engagement, and other topics that are important to advancing fusion commercialization.  This presentation will provide an overview of technology development and commercialization support activities.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Nov 28, 2023

The Proxima Fusion stellarator reactor program

Francesco Sciortino

Proxima Fusion

Building on the legacy of W7-X, and in partnership with leading scientific and technology fusion institutions, Proxima Fusion aims to deliver a demonstration of effective net-energy in steady-state by 2031.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Sep 26, 2023

Thea Energy: Reinventing the Stellarator

David Gates

Princeton Plasma Physics Labratory

We present the concepts behind the all-planar coil stellarator as well as the methods we have developed to perform the field coil optimization. We also discuss the compatibility of the concept with reliability, accessibility, maintenance, and inspectability as well as the ability to incorporate a blanket. Additionally we will present initial studies of blanket design for the stellarator neutron source.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid