NEWS: Magnetic fusion energy

Image of star formation

VIDEO: PODCAST: Fusion: Can we recreate the renewable power of stars down on Earth?

Researchers around the world are trying to figure out if we can recreate the fusion process of the sun here on Earth. If scientists can pull it off, the payoff could be huge: A deep understanding of stellar physics could one day lead to a virtually unlimited supply of clean energy. To discover just how, in this NOVA podcast Dr. Alok Patel hears from PSFC Director Dennis Whyte. The section about MIT's latest contributions to fusion research starts at 12:30.

Illustration of reverse d-shaped plasma inside tokamak

Alessandro Marinoni: Returning to fusion’s D-turn

Alessandro Marinoni has continued to examine an innovative plasma shape, dubbed “negative triangularity,” extending previous research to configurations more compatible with the plasma environment of a reactor. 


20T magnet Demo Event Highlights, MIT

VIDEO: Highlights of the MIT-CFS 20T Magnet Demo event

On Sunday, September 5, 2021, a large-bore, high temperature superconducting magnet designed and built by CFS and MIT reached a field of 20 tesla. It paves the way to building SPARC and commercializing fusion energy. These are highlights from the Live-Streamed 20 Tesla HTS Magnet Demo Event

Star in a bottle, MIT

VIDEO: A Star in a Bottle: The Quest for Commercial Fusion

On Sept. 5, 2021, for the first time, a large high-temperature superconducting electromagnet was ramped up to a field strength of 20 tesla, the most powerful magnetic field of its kind ever created on Earth. That successful demonstration by the PSFC and CFS helps resolve the greatest uncertainty in the quest to build the world’s first fusion power plant that can produce more power than it consumes.

HTS Magnet, MIT

VIDEO: Unlocking SPARC: HTS Magnet for Commercial Fusion Applications

An animation of how the high temperature superconducting (HTS) fusion magnet built by MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS)was tested. Reaching a field of 20 tesla, it is the most powerful superconducting magnet in the world and a key technology in SPARC, a compact, high-field tokamak that will produce net energy from fusion.

Interior of a tokamak

Negative triangularity - a positive for tokamak fusion reactors

MIT researchers have teamed with the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne to learn more about plasma edge dynamics and power and particle exhaust properties.

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Fusion Energy Sciences

Magnet Man

After overseeing three years of research and development, Brian LaBombard is ready to test a toroidal field model coil (TFMC), a prototype for those that will be used in the new fusion experiment, SPARC.


Amy Watterson illuminated by the glow of her computer screen

Model engineer

Since joining the SPARC project, Mechanical Engineer Amy Watterson has honed her modeling skills to prepare fusion magnets for a crucial test.


Vinny Fry, MIT

Wired for Success

MIT engineer, Vinny Fry is preparing to help test SPARC’s Toroidal Field Magnet Coil (TFMC), a scaled prototype for the HTS magnets that will surround the tokamak’s toroidal vacuum chamber to confine the plasma.


Image of Aaron Rosenthal with diagnostic

Candid-camera capture

MIT graduate student Aaron Rosenthal and colleagues from PPPL use a pinhole camera technique to answer questions about what is happening in the edge of hot plasmas confined in tokamaks.


Diagram of ARCH concept

On course to create a fusion power plant

Since taking on course 22.63 (Principles of Fusion Engineering) over a decade ago Prof. Dennis Whyte has moved away from standard lectures, prodding the class to work collectively on  “real world” issues. The course has been instrumental in guiding the real future of fusion at the PSFC.


Photo of Wukitch and Wright

Summarizing a new approach for fusion heating

Principal research scientists at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Dr. John Wright and Dr. Stephen Wukitch, have collaborated with international partners on a review paper summarizing research on a three-ion approach to plasma heating for magnetic fusion devices, a scenario for which they shared the American Physical Society (APS) Landau-Spitzer Award in 2018.


Portrait of Richard Ibekwe

Understanding imperfections in fusion magnets

MIT Energy Fellow Richard Ibekwe is attracted to the challenges of fusion research."There are few problems as hard to solve or that might have as profound a potential positive impact on our planet and the whole of humanity,” he says.


Keeping an eye on the fusion future

"When I actually got into the depths of fusion, seeing what the PSFC was doing - nothing ever compared,” says graduate student Dan Korsun.