Virtual Pressroom 2007

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., are 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 losses, diagnose plasma characteristics, numerically simulate 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, basic plasma science, and industrial applications has been made.

These highlights and results of many other subjects will be addressed at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics, to be held November 12-16, 2007, in Orlando, Florida. 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 New Imaging X-Rray Crystal Spectrometer Advances State-of-the-Art for Measurements of Ion Temperature and Plasma Rotation Velocity Profiles in Tokamaks
American Physical Society invites Orlando to discover plasma
Effects of relativity lead to "warp speed" computations
Electrons surf plasma waves to record-high energies
Heating laboratory plasma to 100 million degrees
Keep the fire burning in a fusion reactor
Keeping cool while studying plasma turbulence at 100 million degrees
Laser squeeze play a key step toward igniting inertial fusion
Lithium surface coatings improve plasma performance in the National Spherical Torus Experiment
Measuring electron-scale turbulence in a fusion plasma
More Efficient Penetration of Fusion Plasmas By Radiofrequency Beams
New insight on how fusion plasmas escape from their magnetic bottle
Plasma antennas can magically vanish
Plasma bursts eliminated by small archipelagos in a chaotic magnetic sea
Producing Continuous Electrical Currents in a Fusion Device Using High Power Radio Waves
Reversing plasma spin leads to higher performance
Shedding new light on old mysteries of Z pinches
Simulating a "soft landing" for an unstable fusion plasma
Subtle changes in plasma shape provides lift in fusion performance
Super-bright laser uses plasma as amplifier-compressor
Ultra Fast Programs Developed for Future Ultra Fast Computers: The Speed of Light is Too Slow