A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research

Plasma physics

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The study of plasma, a partially-ionized gas that is electrically conductive and able to be confined within a magnetic field, and how it releases energy.

Dr. Michael C Zarnstorff

Michael Zarnstorff has been deputy director of research at PPPL since 2009 and a physicist at PPPL since 1984.  As deputy director, he oversees physics experiments at PPPL and collaborations on fusion experiments around the world.  Zarnstorff graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Ph.D. in physics in 1984.

Ahmed Diallo

Ahmed Diallo is leader of the pedestal structure and control topical science group of the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) and is a recipient of a DOE Early Career award. He is developing a fast burst laser system to investigate the dynamics of the pedestal as well as to control it. He has contributed to the upgrade of the Thomson scattering diagnostic system in preparation for the NSTX-U, and has participated in the operation of the NSTX and the Thomson scattering system prior to their upgrades.

Stefan Gerhardt

Stefan Gerhardt is head of Experimental Research Operations for the National Spherical Torus Experiment- Upgrade (NSTX-U). He operates numerous diagnostics on NSTX-U, along with designing plasma control schemes and running physics experiments. He has previously worked on a wide variety of fusion machines, including spherical tokamaks, stellarators, and field reversed configurations. 

Charles A Gentile

Charles Gentile is head of the Tritium Systems Group at PPPL. He led a team at PPPL to create a Miniature Integrated Nuclear Detection System, called MINDS, which can be used to scan moving vehicles, luggage, cargo vessels, and the like for specific nuclear signatures associated with materials employed in radiological weapons. MINDS could be employed at work- place entrances, post offices, tollbooths, airports, commercial shipping ports, and in police cruisers to detect the transportation of unauthorized nuclear materials. 

Jonathan E Menard

Jonathan Menard is program director for the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) and is responsible for guiding the scientific research program of NSTX-U working with an international research team. His research interests include the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equilibrium and stability properties of spherical torus (ST) and tokamak plasmas, advanced operating scenarios in the ST, and the development of next- step ST options for fusion energy. 

U.S. Department of Energy's Plasma Science Center holds third annual meeting at PPPL

More than 50 participants from a dozen U.S. research institutions gathered at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) May 17-18 for the third annual meeting of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Plasma Science Center. The meeting featured papers on low-temperature plasmas, whose practical applications range from lighting to nanotechnology. Events at the session included a display of graduate student posters and a tour of PPPL.


U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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