Scientists have achieved a remarkable breakthrough in the conceptual design of twisty stellarators, experimental magnetic facilities that could reproduce on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars. The breakthrough shows how to more precisely shape the enclosing magnetic fields in stellarators to create an unprecedented ability to hold the fusion fuel together.
"The key thing was developing a piece of software that allows you to rapidly try out new design methods" said Elizabeth Paul, a Princeton University Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and co-author of a paper that details the finding in Physical Review Letters. The results produced by Paul and lead author Matt Landreman of the University of Maryland could boost the capability of stellarators to harvest fusion to generate safe and carbon-free electrical power for mankind.
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