“Physics of the Boundary of Magnetic Fusion Plasmas” by Anthony Leonard, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, National Fusion Facility, San Diego, California
Abstract: Magnetic fusion represents an exciting opportunity to address the world’s growing energy needs throughout this century. The realization of fusion energy is embodied in ITER, an international experimental fusion device being built in southern France and designed demonstrate energy output a factor of 10 greater than input. ITER construction is well underway and scheduled to start operation in 2025. One of the great challenges for the development of fusion energy is handling of the exhaust power as it meets material surfaces. Research at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility is focused on addressing this challenge by developing predictive models for the design of boundary plasma solutions between the hot central plasma and material surfaces. Predictive models of the boundary plasma must include a number of physical processes including plasma and atomic physics as well as material science. The combination of these processes results in unique plasma conditions from hot plasmas with low collisionality to cold, dense recombining plasmas. Progress in the understanding and modeling of fusion boundary plasmas will be summarized.