APS Division of Plasma Physics Meeting
Press & Media
Monday - Friday
November 2 - 6, 2009
Hyatt Regency Hotel
About Plasma Physics
The DPP/APS Meeting showcases cutting-edge research results in plasma physics.
Solid, Liquid, Gas, and Plasma
Most of the matter with which we are familiar in everyday life exists in one of three states - solid, liquid, or gas. But much more of the matter in the universe exists in a fourth state known as plasma. Plasmas are collections of electrically charged particles such as electrons and protons.
A plasma is formed by breaking up the atoms and molecules in a gas. Stars are primarily composed of hot plasma. On Earth, plasmas are created by people every day when they turn on fluorescent light bulbs or plasma-screen TV's. Bolts of lightning are also comprised of plasma. In all these examples, the plasma emits light.
Plasmas are also used to inscribe the patterns in silicon from which computer chips and other electronics are made; and they are also at the heart of the most promising nuclear fusion devices that may someday lead to an abundance of cheap, clean, and safe power sources.
Plasma Physics ResearchMajor achievements in plasma research this year include
- Start of operations at the National Ignition Facility
- Laser-based fusion experiment at Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California
- Significant performance improvements in magnetically confined fusion experiments around the world
- New approaches in computer simulation and theory that dramatically reduce the time needed for particular calculations related to the acceleration of electrons in plasma arising from the interaction of the plasma with an intense laser or intense electron beam
- Generation of energetic heavy particles from the interaction of an intense laser with specially shaped targets