PSFC Seminars

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

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

Apr 20, 2021

Commonwealth Fusion Systems and the high-field path to a pilot plant

Bob Mumgaard

CEO and Founder, Commonwealth Fusion Systems

The talk will cover the current status of the program including development of HTS magnets and the upcoming construction of the SPARC tokamak.  Then it will look ahead to the strategies being employed to develop a near-term fusion pilot plant to be constructed starting at the end of the current decade.  It will cover the needed innovations and opportunities for teaming to complete the design basis for this, the first commercial, fusion power plant.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Apr 12, 2021

A day in the life of a cryogenic engineer at MIT (Cambridge Science Festival)

Dhananjay Ravikumar

MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Join MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center cryogenic engineer Dhananjay Ravikumar for a virtually interactive look into what makes his job so "cool." In the process, watch the effects of liquid nitrogen on substances you might encounter in your day-to-day lives. You can also get a peek into the curious world of “superfluids,” which spontaneously flow out of containers, act as if they have no friction and can even flow through the container that's holding it! Register here starting April 1.

6:00pm  |  Virtual

Apr 7, 2021

Development and evaluation of advanced materials for fusion applications

Tyler Abrams

General Atomics

This talk discusses two broad classes of prospective fusion materials that may provide substantial advantages over conventional nuclear-grade components: (i) advanced tungsten alloys and (ii) ultra-high-temperature ceramics, with a particular focus on silicon carbide (SiC). Fabrication methods, structure-property relationships, and irradiation damage characteristics are reviewed, including the major synergies of these materials with high temperature operation (~1000 oC and above).

2:00pm  |  Virtual

Mar 11, 2021

"Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid"

Moderated by Martin Greenwald

Deputy Director, MIT PSFC

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently published a report titled "Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid". The goal of the report was to develop a strategy and roadmap for “constructing a pilot plant in the United States that produces electricity from fusion at the lowest possible capital cost”. Three members of the report will present and discuss key recommendations, conclusions, and opportunities in a zoom seminar on March 11. For zoom link:

3:00pm  |  Virtual

Mar 11, 2021

Multiple isotope pellet cycles captured by turbulent transport modelling in the JET tokamak

Michele Marin


Accurate modelling of particle transport is crucial to interpret and predict tokamak experiments. In this talk, we will address how multi-ion integrated modelling was utilized to reproduce recent experimental observations. Specically, fast mixing of the isotopes in Ion Temperature Gradient dominated turbulent regime in both gas pu and pellet fuelled discharges will be discussed in details. The results have implications for multi-isotope core fuelling and burn control.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Mar 3, 2021

Exploring the most extreme conditions of matter with ultra-bright X-rays

Siegried Glenzer

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

At SLAC, we are now studying extreme states of matter in the laboratory. We apply enormous pressures to earthbound samples and use our X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source, to take split-second photographs of the states that result. This lecture will describe these experiments. The information we are gathering provides fundamental insights into the physical properties of matter in extreme conditions whose understanding is important for modeling astrophysical processes and for pursuing controlled fusion.  

1:00pm  |  Virtual

Feb 25, 2021

The increasing peril from nuclear arms: and how physicists can help reduce the threat

Stewart Prager

Princeton University

With geopolitical and technological changes mostly driven by the nuclear weapons states, we are slipping towards a new arms race and deterioration of the multi-decade arms control regime. This talk will describe the current critical situation, feasible steps to reduce the nuclear threat, and a new project sponsored by the American Physical Society to engage physical scientists in advocacy for nuclear threat reduction.

3:00pm  |  Virtual

Feb 19, 2021

Integrated modeling of tokamak plasma confinement combining core and edge pedestal physics

Teobaldo Luda

Institute for Plasma Physics

The design of future fusion reactors and their operational scenarios requires an accurate prediction of the plasma confinement. We have developed a new model that integrates different elements describing the main physics phenomena which determine plasma confinement. In particular, we are coupling a new pedestal transport model, based on empirical observations, to the ASTRA transport code, which, together with the TGLF turbulent transport model and the NCLASS neoclassical transport model, allows us to describe transport from the magnetic axis to the separatrix.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Feb 11, 2021

PUFFIN: a new microsecond pulser for magnetized high energy density plasma experiments at MIT

Jack Hare


In this talk Jack Hare will discuss PUFFIN (, a new pulsed-power facility that will start construction at MIT in 2021. PUFFIN's unique capability is a microsecond drive time, much longer than existing pulsed-power facilities, which are optimised for driving implosions in around 100 ns. These long drive times open up the new frontiers in high-energy-density laboratory astrophysics, enabling us to study the steady-state behaviour of magnetized turbulence or the growth of instabilities such as plasmoids in magnetic reconnection.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Feb 4, 2021

Studies on the impact of particle sources on turbulence and transport at AUG, fueling pellets and cold pulses by impurity laser ablation

Clemente Angioni

Institute for Plasma Physics

Two interesting cases of the impact of specific particle sources on the turbulence and transport  in tokamak plasmas are considered with a combination of experiments at ASDEX Upgrade and of dedicated simulations with gyrokinetic and gyrofluid models and linked by the transient development of hollow density profiles.

10:00am  |  Virtual

Dec 11, 2020

Exploring synergy between two frequencies of lower hybrid power on EAST

Wilkie Choi

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

To investigate the optimal conditions for LH synergy, a recent experiment scanned the power fraction from the two antennas while maintaining constant total injected power, for two different density conditions. Zoom link:     

3:30pm  |  Remote