Physics Department Colloquium - “Magnetic confinement fusion: the confinement challenge and turbulence measurements" - Rachel Bielajew - MIT
Magnetic confinement fusion is a promising pathway for meeting future energy demands, offering a sustainable source of abundant, carbon-free energy while mitigating long-lived radioactive waste. The most widely studied magnetic confinement approach is the tokamak - a donut-shaped device that employs magnetic fields to confine and control a fusion plasma. Very high temperatures are needed for plasma ions to undergo fusion reactors, so a high degree of “energy confinement” is needed to keep heat in the core plasma. A central challenge in magnetic confinement fusion is achieving and maintaining this high energy confinement.
Plasma turbulence poses an obstacle to energy confinement because turbulence-driven transport causes heat to travel from the hot plasma core to the cool edge. A fundamental understanding of this turbulence and its underlying mechanisms is imperative for accurately predicting the performance of future reactors. Experimental measurements utilizing turbulence diagnostics, such as the Correlation Electron Cyclotron Emission (CECE) diagnostic, provide insight to the nature of tokamak turbulence. CECE measures properties of turbulence including electron temperature fluctuation spectra, fluctuation amplitude, and physical structure of the turbulence. With these measurements, we gain new insight into tokamak operational regimes with high energy confinement, thus paving the path for future magnetic confinement fusion reactor operation.
Refreshments will be served in Olin Hall 118 at 3:30 P.M.