Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Postcards from the plasma edge


For magnetic fusion energy to fuel future power plants, scientists must find ways to control the interactions that take place between the volatile edge of the plasma and the walls that surround it in fusion facilities. Such interactions can profoundly affect conditions at the superhot core of the plasma in ways that include kicking up impurities that cool down the core and halt fusion reactions.

Researchers have improved plasma performance by applying lithium coatings to the walls of fusion facilities. But a complete understanding of the mechanism behind this improvement remains elusive.

Lithium-coated molybdenum was heated to a high temperature during a PPPL experiment.

Credit: Angela Capece, PPPL

Among the puzzles is how temperature affects the ability of lithium to absorb and retain the deuterium particles that stray from the fuel that creates fusion reactions.

Answers are now emerging from a new surface-science laboratory at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory that can probe lithium coatings that are just three atoms thick. Such probes have examined the surface composition of lithium films on a molybdenum substrate after the films were exposed to deuterium ions.

Researchers controlled the surface temperatures, impurity levels and other conditions independently of one another, which could not be done in the complex environment of fusion devices like tokamaks.

The experiments showed that the ability of ultrathin lithium films to retain deuterium drops as the temperature of the molybdenum substrate rises — a result that provides insight into how lithium affects the performance of tokamaks.

Experiments further showed that exposing the lithium to oxygen improved deuterium retention at temperatures below about 400 degrees Kelvin. But without exposure to oxygen, the researchers found, lithium films could retain deuterium at higher temperatures as a result of lithium-deuterium bonding.

Armed with these findings, scientists will be better able to determine how to use lithium to enhance the performance of fusion plasmas.


Angela Capece,


YI2.00005: The Effects of Temperature and Oxidation on Deuterium Retention in Solid and Liquid Lithium Films on Molybdenum Plasma-Facing Components
11:30 AM–12:00 PM, Friday, October 31, 2014

Session YI2: Technology of Plasma Facing Surfaces, Landau-Spitzer Award and Post Deadline Talk
9:30 AM–12:30 PM, Friday, October 31, 2014

Saralyn Stewart | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

nachricht Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>