Virtual Pressroom 2005

Most of the matter we are familiar with in everyday life comes in 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 gaseous collections of electrically charged particles such as electrons and protons. Stars are primarily composed of hot plasmas. On Earth, plasmas are formed in lightning strikes and produce light in fluorescent bulbs. They are used to inscribe patterns in computer chips and other electronics, 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.

Seven international partners, including the U.S., have now committed to the construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) as the next step toward fusion energy. Many new advances relevant to magnetic confinement in ITER—such as methods to suppress plasma instabilities, control heat loss, diagnose plasma behavior, and enhance heating—have been recently achieved. At the same time, impressive progress in inertially confined fusion plasmas, high-energy-density physics, space and astrophysical plasmas, and basic plasma science has been made.

These highlights and results of many other subjects will be addressed at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics, to be held October 30-November 3, 2006, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. More than 1500 attendees will present 1600 papers covering the latest advances in plasma-based research and technology.

The American Physical Society is the world's largest professional body of physicists, representing over 43,500 physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the US and internationally.

Highlights & Press Releases

A Little "Magnetic Chaos" Relieves Tension in the Plasma Boundary
Accelerating Electrons with Bright Sparks
American Physical Society invites Denver to discover plasma
Coaxial Helicity Injection produces a self-contained plasma ring in the National Spherical Torus Experiment
Comparison Between Sawteeth Oscillations in Bean and Oval Shaped Plasmas
Cone Target Dynamics Revealed by Anthem Modeling
Dynamo provides clues to origin of magnetic fields
First Observation of Unstable Global Pressure Limiting Instability with Toroidal Mode Numbers Greater than One
Gas Jet Disruption Mitigation in Alcator C-Mod (140k)
High-speed images capture ripples in edge of hot plasma
Hollow Current Improves Fusion Performance
Keeping the fire burning in a fusion reactor
Key Mechanism for Fast Magnetic Reconnection identified in a Laboratory Experiment
New Insights from Supercomputing Simulations of Transport in Toroidal Plasmas
New Insights on Transport in a Dense Tokamak Plasma Edge
Pushing the Pressure Envelope with Precise Real-Time Control
Researchers Observe a Further Enhancement of Energy Confinement in the National Spherical Torus Experiment
Stellar Plasmas Shed Light on Their Laboratory Cousins
Studying turbulence with a planetary-scale wind tunnel
Up Against the Wall – Solid and Liquid Solutions to Fusion’s Materials Challenges