PSFC Seminars

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

Sep 5, 2023

Impact of synergistic plasma exposure and radiation damage of plasma-facing materials on the tritium fuel cycle in burning DT magnetic fusion energy systems

George R. Tynan

UC San Diego Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, visiting professor MIT PSFC & NSE Department

Because of the relatively low fueling efficiency and burnup fraction of tritium (T) within magnetic fusion energy (MFE) confinement devices, even low levels of T retention in plasma facing components (PFCs) subjected to burning plasma-material interactions (BPMI) can impact the in-vessel T inventory, achievable tritium breeding ratio (TBR), and performance limits of PFCs in fusion pilot plants (FPPs).   Validated models of these issues based upon a deep understanding of PFC material evolution under BPMI conditions are needed to support FPP designs.  This talk summarizes recent experiments and plans for new work that will lead to this requisite understanding.

12:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

May 30, 2023

Recent applications of the three-ion radio frequency heating schemes for fast ion generation and fuel ion heating in tokamak plasmas

Massimo Nocente

University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy

In this presentation, a summary of recent experimental results obtained at the Joint European Torus on the application of the three-ion RF schemes in both of the above areas will be provided. In plasmas where the scheme is used as an effective source for fast ion generation, a rich spectrum of fast ion driven modes unexpectedly coexists with high confinement, despite the alleged L-mode nature of the discharge. In D-T plasmas with 9Be impurities, evidence of ion heating is found, as demonstrated by neutron and charge exchange data. Possible applications of these results to plasmas of next generation devices, such as ITER or SPARC, are finally discussed.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

May 26, 2023

Prospects of no-ELM and small-ELM regimes for future fusion devices

Eli Viezzer

University of Seville

Understanding the underlying physics mechanism of the observed differences in energy and particle transport of alternate regimes is of paramount importance. The compatibility of these regimes with edge radiative cooling and divertor radiation to achieve detachment will be discussed. Many of these regimes partly match the operational space of ITER and DEMO, however, knowledge gaps remain. This talk will discuss these knowledge gaps and possible strategies to close these gaps to show their applicability to ITER and DEMO.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hypbrid

May 12, 2023

Collisional transport in large aspect ratio stellarators

Felix Parra

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

The speaker will show both numerical and analytical results obtained using the new model that illustrate the nature of stellarator collisional transport at small collision frequencies.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218

May 5, 2023

Ignition and target gain at the National Ignition Facility

Alex Zylstra (for the NIF team)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In recent years several improvements in the scientific design and requisite technologies have enabled increasing performance of NIF experiments through the burning plasma and ignition regimes, which are prerequisites for high gain in inertial fusion, to the first experiment with target gain exceeding unity.

3:00pm  |  NW14-112 Hybrid

Apr 28, 2023

Disruption prediction and avoidance in tokamaks

Alessandro Pau


This talk will give an overview of the experimental results, modelling activities and advances in machine learning algorithms for detection of proximity to operational limits as well as the progress in the development of a generic control architecture enabling the integration of active disruption avoidance strategies with exception handling and continuous control.  

3:00pm  |  NW17-218 (hybrid)

Mar 31, 2023

Accomplishments of the 100-Gbar Campaign on OMEGA

Sean Regan

Laser Laboratory of Electronics

Research and development will be presented in the science and engineering of implosion physics of layered DT cryogenic targets and the supporting improvements to lasers, targets, and diagnostics that led to an increase of the stagnation pressure from 50 Gbar to 80 Gbar and a corresponding increase in the energy-scaled, generalized Lawson criterion from 0.56 to 0.8 (1.0 corresponds to ignition).

3:00pm  |  NW16-136 Hybrid

Mar 31, 2023

Development of plasma facing materials and components at the Max-Planck-Insitute for Plasma Physics

Johann Riesch

Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physic

The focus will be in the use of GLADIS for the development of materials and components for present day and future fusion devices. In the second part of the talk the development of tungsten wire composites will serve as a showcase to illustrate our work. After a quick introduction to the development history this talk will concentrate on the current work and upcoming challenges until its final use as a plasma facing material.

10:00am  |  NW16-136

Mar 28, 2023

GET-ART project: an alternative novel method to measure DT fusion power in magnetic confinement fusion based on detection of 17 MeV gamma rays

Marco Tardocchi

Instituto per la Scienza e Tecnologia dei Plasmi (ISTP)

The presentation will describe the main challenges and solutions identified and the results achieved in the recent DT experiment at JET, where the absolute gamma-ray flux has been measured with a LaBr3 spectrometer installed along an oblique line of sight.

1:00pm  |  NW17-218 Virtual

Mar 17, 2023

Changing the game for Inertial Fusion Energy

Conner Galloway

Xcimer Energy Corporation

The National Ignition Facility achieved scientific breakeven in December 2022. While this was a major accomplishment, many challenges remain in making Inertial Fusion Energy a reality. Xcimer Energy is tackling these challenges by developing a novel laser architecture capable of economically scaling to tens of megajoules of energy and delivering this energy to target from a very small solid angle with high beam quality and control.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218

Mar 3, 2023

Enabling first-principles predictions of core performance in tokamaks with surrogate optimization techniques

Pablo Rodriguez-Fernandez


This talk will introduce the need of flux-driven simulations to enable profile predictions, will present the fundamentals of the novel PORTALS technique and will discuss recent applications: the study of performance of burning plasmas in ITER and SPARC and the validation of ion-scale gyrokinetics in DIII-D and JET experiments.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Dec 6, 2022

Advances in fusion neutronics developed for ITER design

Rafael Juarez

Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

Demonstration of radiation exposure limitation for public & workers, and compatibility of the electronics with the radiation levels in ITER has revealed notorious methodological challenges addressed in this seminar. Extreme geometry modelling and characterization of detailed 3D delayed radiation sources have emerged as central aspects of improvements entailing consequential severe computational penalties.

2:30pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Dec 6, 2022

The important role of cosmic ray transport physics in galaxy evolution

Philipp A. Kempski

Princeton University

A discussion of theoretical uncertainties in CR propagation and how CR spectra measured at Earth help us constrain their transport physics. The speaker will then use a plausible mode of transport to consider the impact of CRs on the propagation of waves in low-collisionality plasmas, which has implications for the thermal evolution of intra-cluster media in galaxy clusters.

11:00am  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Oct 28, 2022

OpenMC: A one-stop-shop for fusion neutronics

Ethan Peterson


This talk highlights the challenges of the current fusion neutronics ecosystem, how the OpenMC fusion roadmap addresses these challenges, and presents the first Rigorous 2-Step SDR calculation performed with a single open-source code.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Oct 18, 2022


Speakers: Fusion leaders, including Dennis Whyte, MIT

At this hybrid event, taking place virtually and at the Museum of Science, London, PSFC Director Dennis Whyte will speak on "What does fusion need: Solutions to technical challenges." Register here

5:30am  |  Science Museum, London and virtual

Oct 14, 2022

A utility company perspective on fusion

Mark Berry

Southern Company

Dr. Berry will share insights from Southern Company's experience with a variety of technologies, including the first new nuclear units built in the U.S. in 30 years at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle and the development of next-generation nuclear technologies.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Oct 7, 2022

Progress and challenges for fusion materials

Steven Zinkle

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

 As noted during the recent US fusion community R&D prioritization planning evaluation and accompanying DOE-Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee and National Academies assessments, and spurred by increased private sector investments, there is growing interest in boldly proceeding with construction of a fusion demonstration reactor. Advanced materials will be foundational for the successful operation of any next-step fusion energy device. This presentation will provide an overview of some of the key advances achieved with respect to fusion materials during the past 10 years, along with an assessment of several key remaining challenges. A brief summary of potential candidate materials (focusing on structural materials) and key degradation mechanisms (primarily associated with exposure to D-T fusion neutrons) will be given.

3:00pm  |  NW17-218 Hybrid

Aug 26, 2022

CPS-FR: Magnetic control of TCV tokamak plasmas through Deep Reinforcement Learning

Federico Felici

Swiss Plasma Center, EPFL

A key challenge in tokamak operations is to shape and maintain a high-temperature plasma within the vessel. This requires regulating the plasma position and shape via magnetic fields generated by a set of control coils. This work presents a new architecture for designing a tokamak magnetic controller based on deep reinforcement learning. The controller is entirely trained on a physics-based simulator and then deployed on the TCV tokamak hardware, where it was successful in controlling a diverse set of plasma configurations, including a new configuration featuring two plasmas in the vessel simultaneously. The control architecture replaces separate controllers used in traditional architectures with a single control policy. This lecture will provide details about the training and deployment of the reinforcement learning algorithm, as well as providing a comparison with more traditional control engineering solutions to the magnetic control problem.
Join Zoom Meeting

Password: 843110

4:00pm  |  Virtual

Aug 24, 2022

CPS-FR: Software Productivity and Sustainability in Computational Science

Anshu Dubey

Argonne National Laboratory

In this lecture I will describe challenges of improving software productivity in computational science projects, especially those that involve high performance computing. I will also describe various efforts in mitigating these challenges through distillation of practices that have been found to be effective. The topics covered will include software design for performance portability and sustainability, and methodologies for increasing both the scientific output and the developer productivity.  Join Zoom Meeting

Password: 783470

4:00pm  |  Virtual

Aug 23, 2022

CPS-FR: Machine learning and Bayesian modeling at Wendelstein 7-X

Andrea Pavone

Institute of Plasma Physics

Through applications related to the Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment, the speaker will demonstrate how Bayesian inference can enhance the exploitation of interdependent heterogeneous sources of information, such as plasma diagnostic measurements, in a complex system through physics-based modeling and conventional inference methods (MCMC, MAP), and how it can benefits from recent advances based on deep learning to scale up to the large amount of data and systems found in nowadays fusion experiments.  Join Zoom Meeting

Password: 671462

4:00pm  |  Virtual