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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2016-02-02 16:05:29
    • Article ID: 647261

    PPPL Collaborators Congratulate Team at Wendelstein 7-X Fusion Reactor

    • Credit: Photo by Hans-Stephan Bosch

      David Gates, the stellarator physics leader at PPPL by the completed X-Ray crystal spectrometer on the W7-X in October.

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), who collaborate with the Max Planck Institute in Germany on the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion energy reactor, congratulated the team for starting its scientific investigations on fusion energy by producing its first hydrogen plasma on Feb. 3. Hydrogen will provide the fuel necessary to create the energy in an eventual power plant.

    “We’re delighted that W7-X is online,” said Stewart Prager, director of the PPPL. “This truly is a significant achievement. It is a unique experiment in the world, the largest and most advanced fusion stellarator design in the world.”

    Prager said that the data from the W7-X will help inform the roadmap to achieving fusion power plants. “This is a frontier experiment entering new terrain in an area that’s never been looked at before. It should be immensely useful.”

    Hutch Neilson, head of Advanced Projects at PPPL and the coordinator of the U.S. collaboration, was at the fusion reactor for the event along with PPPL physicists Sam Lazerson and Novimir Pablant, and Princeton University Vice President for PPPL Stewart Smith, as well as Ed Synakowski, DOE Associate Director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was an invited guest. “This is extremely important and we are fortunate to be a part of it,” Neilson said. “They are a wonderful partner.”

    David Gates, a PPPL physicist and stellarators physics leader, was equally enthusiastic. “We’re talking about creating a state that’s never been created on Earth,” he said of fusion energy. “We are all really looking forward to these results, and it’s very exciting to bring this machine online.”

    The W7-X is a stellarator - the largest and most advanced fusion experiment of its kind in the world. It uses twisting magnetic coils to confine a superhot gas called a plasma in a steady state for up to 30 minutes. The ultimate objective: develop a power plant that produces energy from the fusion of light atomic nuclei, as does the sun. The W7-X experiment will investigate whether it is a suitable configuration for such a power plant.

    PPPL built some key components for the experiment and leads the U.S. collaboration with W7-X. Among the contributions of the U.S. collaboration:

    • Designed and delivered five massive 2,400-pound trim coils that fine-tune the shape of the plasma

    • Designed and built an X-ray crystal spectrometer for diagnostic imaging

    • Designed and is building divertor scraper units that intercept heat from the plasma to protect divertor targets from damage

    The U.S. effort is funded by $4 million annually from the Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. Collaborators include researchers from Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, as well as researchers and students from MIT, the University of Wisconsin, Auburn University, and Xantho Technologies, LLC.

    PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://www.science.energy.gov.

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    Of Leaves and Light

    Of Leaves and Light

    Imagine getting an entire health workup just by having your picture taken--no invasive poking or prodding, not even a pinprick blood test. That's a goal ecologists have for monitoring the health of plants. Their cameras would be high-resolution sensors mounted on drones or satellites, capable of capturing much more than what's visible to the naked eye.

    New Technique Could Streamline Design of Intricate Fusion Device

    New Technique Could Streamline Design of Intricate Fusion Device

    Stellarators, twisty machines that house fusion reactions, rely on complex magnetic coils that are challenging to design and build. Now, a PPPL physicist has developed a mathematical technique to help simplify the design of the coils.

    Measuring the Charge of Electrons in a High-Temp Superconductor

    Measuring the Charge of Electrons in a High-Temp Superconductor

    The measurements could inform the search for new materials that perfectly conduct electricity at relatively higher temperatures.

    A new way to generate solar steam for cleaning water and reducing waste

    A new way to generate solar steam for cleaning water and reducing waste

    At the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, researchers are exploring affordable materials that could absorb the sunlight necessary to evaporate water and recapture it, leaving contaminants behind.

    Amazon Rainforest Absorbing Less Carbon Than Expected

    Amazon Rainforest Absorbing Less Carbon Than Expected

    An international team of scientists, including climate scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found that accounting for phosphorus-deficient soils reduced projected carbon dioxide uptake by an average of 50% in the Amazon, compared to current estimates based on previous climate models that did not take into account phosphorus deficiency.

    Fermilab's newest accelerator delivers first results

    Fermilab's newest accelerator delivers first results

    IOTA is designed to develop technologies to increase the number of particles in a beam without increasing the beam's size and thus the size and cost of the accelerator. IOTA researchers are investigating a novel technique called nonlinear integrable optics. The technique was a winner: Scientists observed that these specialized magnets significantly decreased the instability.

    Brookhaven Completes LSST's Digital Sensor Array

    Brookhaven Completes LSST's Digital Sensor Array

    After 16 years of dedicated planning and engineering, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have completed a 3.2 gigapixel sensor array for the camera that will be used in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a massive telescope that will observe the universe like never before.

    Scientists Report Two Advances in Understanding the Role of 'Charge Stripes' in Superconducting Materials

    Scientists Report Two Advances in Understanding the Role of 'Charge Stripes' in Superconducting Materials

    In independent studies, two research teams report important advances in understanding how charge stripes might interact with superconductivity. Both studies were carried out with X-rays at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

    For Superconductors, Discovery Comes From Disorder

    For Superconductors, Discovery Comes From Disorder

    In a new study, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have explained the ways in which two electronic arrangements compete with each other and ultimately affect the temperature at which a material becomes superconducting.

    Cool Roofs Can Help Shield California's Cities Against Heat Waves

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    A new study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that if every building in California sported "cool" roofs by 2050, these roofs would help contribute to protecting urbanites from the consequences of dangerous heatwaves.


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    DOE Issues Small Business Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement

    The Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs issued its first Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Fiscal Year 2020.

    Bioenergy startup licenses ORNL food-waste-to-fuel system

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    Electro-Active Technologies, Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn., has exclusively licensed two biorefinery technologies invented and patented by the startup's co-founders while working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The technologies work as a system that converts organic waste into renewable hydrogen gas for use as a biofuel.

    DOE to Provide $27.6 Million for Data Science Research in Chemical and Materials Sciences

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $27.6 million in funding over the next three years for targeted research in data science to accelerate discovery in chemistry and material sciences.

    Explore the Site of a New Telescope Survey That Will Map the Universe in 3-D

    Explore the Site of a New Telescope Survey That Will Map the Universe in 3-D

    For a special sneak preview before the official start of observations in early 2020, join scientists, engineers, and others who are working on the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) for an exclusive day of access. DESI, under installation at Kitt Peak National Observatory, will capture the light from tens of millions of distant galaxies to better understand the accelerating expansion of the universe.

    A Community-Driven Data Science System to Advance Microbiome Research

    A Community-Driven Data Science System to Advance Microbiome Research

    The National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC), a new initiative aimed at empowering microbiome research, is gearing up its pilot phase after receiving $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

    Brookhaven Lab and University of Delaware Begin Joint Initiative

    Brookhaven Lab and University of Delaware Begin Joint Initiative

    The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Delaware (UD) have begun a two-year joint initiative to promote collaborative research in new areas of complementary strength and strategic importance.

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA licenses ORNL advanced optical array

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA licenses ORNL advanced optical array

    IDEMIA Identity & Security USA has licensed an advanced optical array developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The portable technology can be used to help identify individuals in challenging outdoor conditions.

    Jefferson Lab Welcomes New Director of Accelerator Operations

    Jefferson Lab Welcomes New Director of Accelerator Operations

    After an extensive search, Camille Ginsburg has been selected as the director of accelerator operations at DOE's Jefferson Lab.

    EIC Center at Jefferson Lab Announces Fellowship Awards

    EIC Center at Jefferson Lab Announces Fellowship Awards

    One graduate student and three postdoctoral research scientists are awarded fellowships to advance the science of an electron-ion collider.


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    Chaos Ensues When Lasers and Plasma Meet

    Chaos Ensues When Lasers and Plasma Meet

    Warp+PXR dramatically improves the accuracy of the simulations compared to those typically used in plasma research. Now, researchers can simulate lasers' interactions with plasma with much higher precision.

    This Superconductor Does Not Take Light Lightly

    This Superconductor Does Not Take Light Lightly

    Superconductors are materials that show no resistance to electrical current when cooled. Recently, scientists discovered a new superconducting material. Now, scientists have found that when exposed to low-energy ultraviolet light, the material acts as a superconductor at higher temperatures.

    Nuclear Physics Detector Tech Used in Cancer Treatment Monitoring System

    Nuclear Physics Detector Tech Used in Cancer Treatment Monitoring System

    The OARtrac(r) system includes technologies that are based on a novel application of scintillating material in fiber form. Doctors can insert these scintillating fibers into the human body via a catheter to monitor the radiation that cancer patients receive in a range of hard-to-reach areas.

    Machine Learning Helps Create Detailed, Efficient Models of Water

    Machine Learning Helps Create Detailed, Efficient Models of Water

    A team devised a way to better model water's properties. They developed a machine-learning workflow that offers accurate and computationally efficient models.

    Cultivating the Assembly Landscape

    Cultivating the Assembly Landscape

    For the first time, a team determined and predictably manipulated the energy landscape of a material assembled from proteins. Designing materials that easily and reliably morph on command could benefit water filtration, sensing applications, and adaptive devices.

    A Change in Structure for a Superheavy Magnesium Isotope

    A Change in Structure for a Superheavy Magnesium Isotope

    A recent measurement exploring the structure of magnesium-40 has shown a surprising change in the structure relative to expectations. This unanticipated change could be pointing to physics missing from our theories, such as the effects of weak binding between particles.

    Bursts of Light Shape Walls Between Waves of Charge

    Bursts of Light Shape Walls Between Waves of Charge

    To better store data, scientists need ways to change a material's properties suddenly. For example, they want a material that can go from insulator to conductor and back again. Now, they devised a surprisingly simple way of flipping a material from one state into another, and back again, with flashes of light. A single light pulse turns thin sheets of tantalum disulfide from its original (alpha) state into a mixture of alpha and beta states. Domain walls separate the two states. A second pulse of light dissolves the walls, and the material returns to its original state.

    New Geometric Model Improves Predictions of Fluid Flow in Rock

    New Geometric Model Improves Predictions of Fluid Flow in Rock

    Supercomputer validates mathematical approach for describing geological features.

    Deep Learning Reveals Mysteries of Deep Space

    Deep Learning Reveals Mysteries of Deep Space

    How do you determine the measurable "things" that describe the nature of our universe? To answer that question, researchers used CosmoFlow, a deep learning technique, running on a National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center supercomputer. They analyzed large, complex data sets from 3-D simulations of the distribution of matter to answer that question. The team showed that CosmoFlow offers a new platform to gain a deeper understanding of the universe.

    At DOE's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, science drives next-gen creations

    At DOE's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, science drives next-gen creations

    American ingenuity is providing radical productivity improvements from advanced materials and robotic systems developed at the Department of Energy's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


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