PSFC Seminars

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

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

Sep 30, 2021

EP H-mode on NSTX

Devon Battaglia

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Unique ELM-free regimes at low aspect ratio expand the physics basis needed to optimize steady-state reactor designs that require simultaneous achievement of high energy confinement and bootstrap current without ELMs.

3:00pm  |  Virtual

Sep 21, 2021

More loops, less inventory – a smart three-loop architecture for the fuel cycle of a fusion power plant

Christian Day

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany

This seminar talk will start from a functional analysis of the fuel cycle, and introduce the results of a rigorous technology survey and ranking which provided the prime technology candidates for all fuel cycle system blocks. The main boundary conditions to the plasma (breeding blanket, matter injection and particle exhaust) will be described and it will be shown how they were derived from the assumed plasma scenario. Finally, an outlook towards the conceptual design phase of a European DEMO is given. It will be delineated which main design and technology R&D steps are needed to achieve the requested maturity of all systems by 2027.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Sep 13, 2021

Progress at General Fusion

Michel Laberge

General Fusion

General fusion is developing Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF). We form a spherical tokamak by helicity injection (no central solenoid) in a rotating liquid metal tank. Compressed gas pistons around the tank compress the liquid and the tokamak to higher density, magnetic field and temperature. At peak compression a brief fusion burst is produced. I will describe present experimental results and the plan going forward.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Sep 9, 2021

Using quantum computers to simulate a toy problem of laser-plasma interactions

Yuan Shi

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The speaker will present the first results using real quantum hardware to simulate a toy problem that is relevant to laser-plasma interactions. A generally applicable algorithm is derived, which encode three-wave interactions on quantum hardware efficiently.

3:00pm  |  Virtual

May 27, 2021

The pros and cons of neutrons in fusion technology

Massimo Zucchetti

Politecnico di Torino

Neutrons are irritating and delightful for fusion technology: this short lecture will review some latest results and future perspectives of my thirty-five yearlong research activity, dealing with the worst and best objects in fusion: neutrons.


May 17, 2021

The use of fusion energy for near term applications before we reach Q=1

Gerald Kulcinski

University of Wisconsin Madison

The United States has been engaged in fusion research for ≈ 70 years and has at least another 20 to 30 years to go until we reach Q>1 in a power reactor.  While electricity from fusion energy will certainly be a “game changer” with respect to lowering the carbon footprint of the nation, there are other possibilities to use fusion energy in the next 5-10 years. 

1:00pm  |  Virtual

May 13, 2021

Hydrodynamic instabilities and mix mitigation in high-energy-density plasmas

Bhuvana Srinivasan

Virginia Tech

This seminar will focus on high-energy-density plasma studies of hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic instabilities relevant to fusion and astrophysical plasmas. The Rayleigh-Taylor instability (RTI) has been known to play a critical role in producing hydrodynamic mix at material interfaces, being particularly detrimental during the deceleration-phase of an inertial confinement fusion implosion.


May 3, 2021

Recent progress in high energy density science on the National Ignition Facility

Mark Herrmann

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The National Ignition Facility, the world’s most energetic laser, has been in operation for over a decade. In that time more than 3000 experiments have been performed studying a wide range of high energy density phenomena, from the behavior of solid materials compressed to high pressures to the formation of high-velocity collisionless shocks. In addition, a major goal of the facility is to study inertial confinement fusion with a goal of obtaining ignition. In this talk I will briefly survey the progress in high energy density science on the NIF and update the status of our efforts in fusion ignition.

3:00pm  |  Virtual

Apr 28, 2021

Physics and technology considerations for the deuterium-tritium fuel cycle and conditions for tritium fuel self-sufficiency AND physics and technology R & D challenges

Mohammed Abdou


The tritium aspects of the DT fuel cycle embody some of the most challenging feasibility and attractiveness issues in the development of fusion systems. This seminar presents brief review of a comprehensive study to understand and quantify these challenges and to define the phase space of plasma physics and fusion technology parameters and features that must guide a serious R & D in the world fusion program.

4:00pm  |  Virtual