General Atomics and its partners at the Energy Department‘s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have reported the latest findings in their joint studies on fusion energy and the control of edge-localized modes or heat bursts.
The company said March 15 the research team found that tiny magnetic fields work to suppress intense heat bursts by gradually releasing heat near the edge of the plasma and deforming the plasma itself.
This result is a follow-up to a previous study also held at the General Atomics-operated DIII-D National Fusion Facility in California to predict and prevent heat bursts at fusion facilities.
According to the company, PPPL scientist Raffi Nazikian led the new study that reported the magnetic fields tearing into the plasma to leak heat.
“The configuration changes suddenly when the plasma is tapped in a certain way and it is this response that suppresses the ELMs,” he said.
General Atomics said the findings indicate that magnetic fields can be tuned to control ELMs.
Carlos Paz-Soldan, a scientist at the company, is part of the research team and served as lead author of a paper published on Physical Review Letters that reports the study’s findings.
Other partners in the studies include Australian National University, Columbia University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of California in San Diego and the University of Wisconsin in Madison.