When a spacecraft enters a thick atmosphere at a high velocity, it rapidly compresses the gas in front of it, creating a hot, dense plasma. To protect against damage, spacecraft are typically covered by a heat shield material. Scientists for the first time used a tokamak to study what happens to these materials in a hot plasma. The research creates a path to improving heat shield materials for future planetary exploration.
Things are looking brighter than ever at the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center. A recently completed upgrade will expand the center’s capabilities into new areas, including studies of particle acceleration, extremely hot plasmas, cancer treatment techniques, and materials for quantum science.
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded PPPL funding of more than $12 million to work with laboratories around the world to accelerate the development of a pilot plant powered by the carbon-free fusion energy that drives the sun and stars and can counter climate change.
Nuclear fusion has drawn more attention in the era of carbon neutrality because of no carbon dioxide production during power generation and no generation of high-level radioactive wastes.
Chinese researchers may have found a new approach to treat cancer by using a plasma treatment to induce apoptosis, without any obvious side effect to normal cells. A plasma-activated medium (PAM) can be treated as a drug, with a dose-effect relationship. In Physics of Plasmas, the scientists’ definition of a plasma dose, the equivalent total oxidation potential (ETOP), can be used for PAM to reveal the plasma dose-response relationship for different cell types.
At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Andreas Kemp studies the interaction of intense, extremely short laser pulses with matter. This new field of research studies extreme nuclear physics reactions at rates far higher than those of current accelerator experiments.
Fusion reactors face a challenge called “core-edge integration,” which involves maintaining a plasma that is hot at the core but not too hot to damage reactor walls. New research finds that a previously identified operating regime called Super H-mode can leverage the use of impurities such as nitrogen to address this challenge. The research also indicates that Super-H mode can be scaled up to future fusion plants.
The nuclei that smash together to produce fusion energy in a reactor originate from ionized neutral particles. The edges of fusion devices have large numbers of neutrals available to gain or lose electrons to become ions. These neutrals influence several important features of the plasma, including the rate at which the plasma fuels a reactor. A new pinhole camera system called Lyman-alpha Measurement Apparatus (LLAMA) on the DIII-D tokamak helped researchers better understand these neutrals.
World-class expertise in the study of plasma — the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei, or ions, that makes up 99 percent of the visible universe — has won frontier science projects for three physicists at PPPL.
While moving around within the gas in the interstellar medium, cosmic rays kickstart the background protons, which causes a collective plasma wave movement akin to ripples on a lake. The big question is how cosmic rays deposit their momentum into the background plasma. In Physics of Plasmas, plasma astrophysicists review recent developments within the field of studying the streaming instability triggered by cosmic rays, which likely have more impacts on galactic dynamics and the star formation cycle than previously known.
University of Washington researchers have developed a method that uses a gaming graphics card to control plasma formation in their prototype fusion reactor.
To operate successfully, ITER and future fusion energy reactors cannot allow melting of the walls of the divertor plates that remove excess heat from the plasma in a reactor. These walls are especially at risk of melting when heat is applied to narrow areas. Now, however, an extreme-scale computing analysis indicates that turbulence will reduce that risk.
PPPL scientists have developed a type of deception to calm unruly plasma and accelerate the harvesting on Earth of fusion energy.
Research reveals how mutated SARS-CoV-2 evades immune system defenses
In lab-dish experiments, the mutant virus escaped antibodies from the plasma of
COVID-19 survivors as well as pharmaceutical-grade antibodies
Mutations arose in an immunocompromised patient with chronic SARS-CoV-2 infection
Patient-derived virus harbored structural changes now seen cropping up independently in samples across the globe
Findings underscore the need for better genomic surveillance to keep track of emerging variants
Results highlight importance of therapies aimed at multiple targets on SARS-CoV-2 to minimize risk of resistance
New research reveals a surprising insight into the physics behind magnetic reconnection. The findings could lead to a greater ability to predict space weather.
The treatment was safe, transferred the survivors’ antibodies, and did not prevent the recipients from making their own antibodies, according to the results published recently in the journal JCI Insights.
Researchers have developed an insight that could facilitate production of microscopic carbon nanotubes, structures thousands of times thinner than a human hair used in everything from microchips to sporting goods to pharmaceutical products.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) has adopted and endorsed a new report that lays out a strategic plan for fusion energy and plasma science research over the next decade. The report has been…
UC Davis MIND Institute researchers used machine learning to crunch 10,000 autoantibody pattern combinations to identify maternal biomarkers associated with a sub-type of autism. The findings have implications for early diagnosis and intervention.
The new Phase 2 study is for infusing this potentially valuable serum into patients with early-stage COVID-19 infection who have at least one major risk factor for serious disease, in an outpatient setting. The goal is to treat the patients in the first 96 hours – with the aim to prevent hospitalization entirely.
Plasma medicine is an emerging field, as plasmas show promise for use in a wide range of therapies from wound healing to cancer treatment, and plasma jets are the main plasma sources typically used in plasma-surface applications. To better understand how plasma jets modify the surfaces of biological tissue, researchers conducted computer simulations of the interaction between an atmospheric pressure plasma jet with a surface that has properties similar to blood serum. They present their analysis in the Journal of Applied Physics.
New computer simulation aims to verify a widely held but unproven theory of the growth of celestial bodies.
A PPPL invention to apply plasma to frequently touched items for continuous disinfection could provide a safe, effective, non-chemical way to reduce pathogens on various high-touch surfaces.
Producing biogas from the bacterial breakdown of biomass presents options for a greener energy future, but the complex composition of biomass comes with challenges. Cellulose and woody lignocellulose are especially hard for bacteria to digest but pretreatment can make it easier. Researchers are testing plasma formation in biomass and finding a promising method: A plasma-liquid interaction forms reactive species that help break down the biomass and decrease the viscosity of the biomass material.
A study released by Houston Methodist Sept. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation takes researchers closer to developing a uniform, universal COVID-19 antibody test. The multicenter collaboration tested alternative ways to measure COVID-19 antibody levels that’s faster, easier and can inexpensively be used on a larger scale to accurately identify potential donors for plasma therapy with the best chance of helping patients infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Heba Hajjar, 23, recovered from COVID-19 after participating in two clinical trials while in the ICU.
A team of ORNL researchers working with tungsten to armor the inside of future fusion reactors had some surprising results when looking at the probability of contamination.
A professor at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has been awarded a one-year, $98,930 grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for plasma research that could advance pulsed fusion propulsion for spacecraft.
Kony Chacon credits a century-old treatment now being used to help coronavirus patients fight off the infection – convalescent blood plasma transfusions – with helping her recover.
A research team is the first in Texas to investigate whether plasma from COVID-19 survivors can be used in outpatient settings to prevent the onset and progression of the virus in two new clinical trials at UTHealth.
In experiments at the National Ignition Facility, a SLAC-led team found new details about how supernovas boost charged particles to nearly the speed of light.
A new clinical trial at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine will examine the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for treating erectile dysfunction – one of the first such controlled studies in the United States to start enrolling patients. “Unlike…
A team of scientists at PPPL and Princeton University has reproduced a process that occurs in space to deepen understanding of what happens when the Earth encounters the solar wind.
Laser and biology experts at Berkeley Lab are working together to develop a platform and experiments to study the structure and components of viruses like the one causing COVID-19, and to learn how viruses interact with their surrounding environment. The experiments could provide new insight on how to reduce the infectiousness of viruses.
Chirped pulse amplification increases the strength of laser pulses in many of today’s highest-powered research lasers, and as next-generation laser facilities look to push beam power, physicists expect a new era for studying plasmas. Researchers have released a study in Physics of Plasmas taking stock of what upcoming high-power laser capabilities are poised to teach us about relativistic plasmas subjected to strong-field quantum electrodynamics processes and introducing the physics of relativistic plasma in supercritical fields.
Humans depend on fossil fuels as their primary energy source, especially in transportation. However, fossil fuels are both unsustainable and unsafe, serving as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers in China have demonstrated a prototype device that uses microwave air plasmas for jet propulsion, generating the high-temperature, high-pressure plasma in situ using only injected air and electricity. They describe the engine in AIP Advances.
Montefiore Health System, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and NYU Langone have launched a new clinical trial to study if convalescent plasma—taken from people who have recovered from COVID-19—is effective in treating the disease.
A new initiative by infectious disease experts and researchers with the University of Miami Health System offers convalescent plasma with COVID-19 antibodies as a treatment for patients who are seriously ill from the coronavirus infection or at serious risk of…
Penn State research team designing device that uses plasma to sterilize ventilators, face shields and masks
When the sun expels plasma, the solar wind cools as it expands through space — but not as much as the laws of physics would predict. UW–Madison physicists now know the reason.
The University of Chicago Medicine is launching a clinical trial to study whether blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 can be used to treat patients who are still in the hospital with severe disease symptoms.
An experimental therapy to help patients recover from COVID-19 by transfusing plasma from virus survivors into critically ill patients is being investigated by physicians at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) for use at Memorial Hermann.
UCLA has joined a nationwide effort to study whether convalescent plasma collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19 may yield a treatment for the deadly virus.
Treatment of COVID-19 is urgent. As part of the next step to advance the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 infection, the National Convalescent Plasma Project has launched a website for health care providers, patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection and want to donate plasma and those considering the treatment.
The techniques Theodore Biewer and his colleagues are using to measure whether plasma has the right conditions to create fusion have been around awhile.
Magnetic field lines that wrap around the Earth protect our planet from cosmic rays. Researchers at PPPL have now found that beams of fast-moving particles launched toward Earth from a satellite could help map the precise shape of the field.
Recent experiments in the DIII-D tokamak demonstrate that more turbulence at the edge of the plasma can result in it being hotter.
The Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will be central to the modeling and data crunching that follow the scheduled launch of NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission in 2024.
PPPL scientists have found that sprinkling a type of powder into fusion plasma could aid in harnessing the ultra-hot gas within a tokamak facility to produce heat to create electricity without producing greenhouse gases or long-term radioactive waste.
PPPL physicist Fatima Ebrahimi has used high-resolution computer simulations to confirm the practicality of the CHI start-up technique. The simulations show that CHI could produce electric current continuously in larger, more powerful tokamaks than exist today to produce stable fusion plasmas.