PSFC Seminars

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

May 18, 2022

The physics basis for WHAM and breakeven in a Compact High Field Mirror

Cary Forest

University of Wisconsin-Madison

An overview of the design for the Wisconsin HTS Axisymmetric Mirror. The experiment has been funded by ARPA-E and is a partnership between the UW Madison, MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems has been formed to build and operate a compact, high-field simple mirror WHAM. Success will demonstrate a pathway to a cost-effective VNS for blanket testing and other applications requiring a large flux of 14 MeV neutrons, and also show how compact end plugs can now be built for axisymmetric tandem mirrors.

1:30pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

May 13, 2022

Tritium experiments and isotope studies in JET with ITER-like wall

Costanza Maggi


Starting from the motivation of Tritium experiments in JET with ITER-like wall, the talk will then cover some of the aspects of tokamak operations with Tritium. The talk will then continue with a review of main scientific results obtained in JET-ILW encompassing all three hydrogen isotopes to understand the dependence of particle, heat and momentum transport on isotope mass, required for predicting ITER's burning plasmas.

10:00am  |  Virtual

May 11, 2022

The Electromagnetic Particle Injector (EPI) as a fast time response disruption mitigation system for tokamak-based reactors

Roger Ramen

University of Washington, Seattle

Predicting and controlling disruptions is an important and urgent issue for ITER. Some disruptions with a short warning time may be unavoidable. For these cases, a fast time response disruption mitigation method is essential. Experimental tests on a prototype system of a novel, rapid time-response disruption mitigation system being developed for tokamak-based reactors, referred to as the Electromagnetic Particle Injector (EPI), has been able to verify the primary advantages of the concept.

1:30pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

May 6, 2022

LIBRA: Liquid Immersion Blanket, Robust (Tritium) Accountancy

Sara Ferry


This seminar will introduce LIBRA, a major new experimental platform to study FLiBe tritium breeding in a large (~1000 kg) volume of FLiBe in a 14 MeV neutron spectrum. We are presently preparing for the construction of LIBRA and its associated lab space at the MIT PSFC. LIBRA will be the most comprehensive FLiBe tritium breeding experiment ever constructed, and targets an aggressive timeline for the rapid advancement of the TRL of FLiBe breeding blankets.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hypbrid

Apr 21, 2022

JET DTE2 campaign: preparation, execution and selected highlights

Joelle Mailloux


In 2021, high fusion power deuterium-tritium experiments (DTE2) were performed in JET for the first time since the 1997 D-T campaigns in TFTR and JET (DTE1). This talk will explore the latest results.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Apr 1, 2022

Physics considerations for the ITER first wall lifetime

Richard Pitts


This presentation will describe some of the recent physics efforts which have been made at the ITER Organization and with R&D collaborators to provide the FW lifetime estimates which are being used now to guide decisions on the procurement of FWP spares.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Mar 21, 2022

Theory of nonlinear ELMs as reconnection bursts

Fatima Ebrahimi

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

A presentation of new results on the rise and nonlinear relaxation of Peeling-Ballooning ELMs (Edge-Localized Modes).The formation of current sheets and the transition to 3-D current-sheet instability is demonstrated through fully nonlinear resistive MHD simulations of P-B ELMs in DIII-D discharges. Large-scale axisymmetric current sheets, as well as small-scale poloidally extending current sheets, are formed as the coherent P-B ELM filaments nonlinearly evolve. A  model for the magnetic self-organization during nonlinear ELMs is presented.


Mar 15, 2022

Combining simulation and machine learning with experiment to drive the future of fusion energy

Michael Churchill

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

In this seminar, the speaker will show how fast, deep convolutional neural networks can be applied to multi-scale plasma diagnostics to automate prediction and event identification. Next, he will show how normalizing flows can be used as neural density estimators to both speed up Bayesian inference of physical quantities from experimental diagnostic data, and in uncertainty quantification of ad-hoc inputs to scrape-off layer fluid codes, consistent with experimental data (simulation-based inference). Finally, he will discuss the role of large-scale, high-fidelity first-principles simulation, such as the edge gyrokinetic code XGC, and how these can be accelerated with machine learning for more routine use in plasma modeling.


Mar 7, 2022

IFE-perspectives and a path forward

Michael Campbell

Laboratory for Laser Energetics

Interest in inertial fusion energy (IFE) has grown rapidly in the past year due to scientific advancements such as the recent demonstration of ignition with a fusion capsule gain of 6 at NIF and the increasing awareness of the need to decarbonize energy production.  While the scientific progress in all approaches to ICF have been impressive, the challenges for making attractive fusion energy are significant. In this talk, the status of ICF, its implications for IFE , and a possible research path forward will be presented.

3:00pm  |  Virtual

Feb 9, 2022

Fusion at COP-26: a foot in the door

Laban Coblentz


The genesis of this talk is the ITER experience in presenting fusion at the recent UN Climate Change conference in Glasgow. Following years of attempts to get fusion on the agenda—only to be repeatedly refused—ITER was offered two slots in the “Blue Zone” (official delegates only) agenda: (1) a 30-minute slot in the “Action Hub”; and (2) a 60-minute panel in the closing sessionWhat does this mean – for the ITER Project, for private initiatives like SPARC, and for other fusion R&D globally? Is fusion gaining acceptance in the climate change community? Critically, was COP-26 a foot-in-the-door that, managed carefully, can lead do something more?

10:00am  |  Virtual

Feb 2, 2022

Achieving a social license for fusion energy

Seth Hoedl

Post Road Foundation

This talk will describe this risk and explore established methods that have been used to achieve social acceptance of new technologies and specific projects, particularly the "social license" and bioethical review. Looking to global bioethics literature, the talk will discuss seven different categories of concerns that are likely to arise as fusion is commercialized, including energy access and conservation, human health and safety, future generations, land and the environment, community solidarity, and distribution of benefits and harms  The talk will conclude with specific recommendations for researchers, funders, regulators and other stakeholders to facilitate long term social acceptance of fusion power.

1:00pm  |  Virtual

Dec 10, 2021

ST40 results and future plans at Tokamak Energy

Yuichi Takase

Tokamak Energy

Tokamak Energy is aiming at an early realization of commercial fusion energy utilizing the advantages of the spherical tokamak (ST) and the high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Dec 1, 2021

NBI fueling and particle transport between ICRH and NBI identity shots in JET with GENE and TGLF validation

Tuomas Tala

University of Technology, Finland

Particle transport in tokamaks has received much less attention thanelectron and ion heat transport channels. It is still often not treated self-consistently in transport modelling and predictions for future tokamaks. As a consequence, particle transport and fuelling remain one of the major open questions in understanding ITER physics.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Nov 22, 2021

Advancing our understanding of plasma processes in the young solar wind: Recent results from Parker Solar Probe

Kris Klein

University of Arizona

A presentation of recent advances in our understanding of turbulence in shaping the evolution of the solar wind as it propagates from near the Sun to 1 au, driven by novel in situ measurements of the plasma at unprecedented distances close to the Sun by Parker Solar Probe. Changes in the nature of the turbulence as the solar wind plasma expands into the heliosphere, and the different processes that are driven by this expansion, are discussed, as well as open questions regarding the nature of the turbulent cascade that should be addressed over this next decade.

3:00pm  |  Virtual

Nov 16, 2021

Validation of low-Z impurity transport theory using boron perturbation experiments at ASDEX Upgrade

Rachael McDermott

Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Garching

An experimental technique has been developed at ASDEX Upgrade (AUG) to separately identify the diffusive and convective components of the boron particle flux. Using this technique a database of B transport coefficients has been assembled that shows that the normalized ion temperature gradient (R/LTi) is the strongest organizing parameter for both the B diffusion and convection and large R/LTi is a necessary ingredient to obtain hollow B density profiles in AUG.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Nov 2, 2021

Recent studies on the link between the target electron temperature, recycling, volumetric losses and plasma performance on JET with the ITER-like wall

Bart Lomanowski

Oak Ridge National Laboratory / JET

A presesntation on the recent results from JET-ILW on linking changes in global and edge plasma parameters (H98, collisionality, separatrix density, ne,sep) directly to the target electron temperature, Te,t, the main parameter moderating divertor recycling and volumetric momentum and cooling losses.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Oct 29, 2021

Objectives, status of the ITER project and research plan

Alberto Loarte


In his talk Alberto will describe : a) how ITER’s fusion production goals will be demonstrated through a range of plasma scenarios addressing specific physics issues of fusion plasmas, b) the basis and the design of the ITER tokamak and the status of its construction, c) the plan for ITER’s scientific exploitation to the demonstrate the project’s goals, d) Outstanding R&D issues to be addressed in present fusion experiments to refine the ITER Research Plan.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Oct 28, 2021

Measuring transport properties in warm dense matter: particle and thermal diffusion

Thomas White

University of Nevada

White will discuss the Fresnel Diffractive Radiography (FDR) scheme. This new isochoric heating platform employs x-ray phase-contrast imaging techniques to measure changes in density gradients at the interface between two WDM samples with micron-scale spatial resolution.

12:00pm  |  Virtual

Oct 26, 2021

Negative triangularity tokamak: Challenges and opportunities

Carlos Paz-Soldan

Columbia University

In order to demonstrate integration of the core and edge solution in DIII-D, a temporary power exhaust system is planned to be deployed on the DIII-D tokamak next summer. With this system in place, the DIII-D tokamak will be ideally placed to address several key gap issues in the negative triangularity concept and qualify its value for exhaust and confinement integration.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218

Oct 21, 2021

Megajoule fusion yields on the National Ignition Facility

Alex Zylstra

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Recent experiments on NIF in the last year have generated 25x higher fusion yields than previous records, up to 1.3MJ. The physical basis for this increase in performance relative to previous NIF results, as well as the scientific implications, will be discussed.

2:00pm  |  Virtual

Oct 13, 2021

Extreme plasma physics of astrophysical compact objects

Sasha Phillipov

This talk describes applications of these methods of understanding multi-wavelength pulsar emission mechanism (including the long-standing problem of the generation of coherent radio waves), as well as to pair plasma discharges and flares near supermassive black holes.

3:00pm  |  Virtual