CRPP received the R&D 100 Award

© 2012 EPFL

© 2012 EPFL

A team of the TCV tokamak at CRPP, composed by F. Piras, S. Coda, B. Duval and J.-M. Moret has received the 2012 R&D 100 Award, which recognizes every year the 100 major developments in all fields of technology worldwide. CRPP scientists have created for the first time a ‘snowflake’ configuration in fusion plasmas. They share the Award with colleagues of Livermore (USA) and Princeton (USA), who have respectively proposed such plasma configuration theoretically, and confirmed its feasibility in the Princeton NSTX tokamak.

The interest of the snowflake configuration is that the energy lost by the plasma is distributed over a much larger surface than in more traditional configurations. As heat flows along magnetic field lines that connect the plasma with the solid walls of the device, increasing the number of these lines by a factor of two reduces by the same factor the heat load on the walls. This would allow one to reach tolerable levels of heat load for existing materials, solving one of the most crucial problems on the way to the development of fusion reactors.

The R&D 100 Award covers a very large spectrum of technology developments, including materials, consumer goods, imaging and communication systems. These innovations are achieved both in industrial and academic environments. The 2012 edition has, among the recipients, Argonne National Laboratory, Agilent, Bruker, Dow Chemical, Intel, MIT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In the past, the R&D 100 Award has recognized inventions such as the halogen lamp, the fax machine, the Nicoderm patch to quit smoking, and more recently, the HD television.

The Tokamak à Configuration Variable, TCV, is the largest experimental installation on the EPFL campus. Led by Prof. A.Fasoli, the TCV Team has among its missions to study the effect and the potential for fusion of different plasma shapes. TCV allows in particular the development of innovative configurations such as the snowflake.

The CRPP, directed by Profs. M.Q.Tran and A.Fasoli, is the center of excellence for fusion research in Switzerland. Its activities include, in addition to experimental and theoretical tokamak physics, basic plasma physics, fusion materials, superconductivity and plasma industrial applications.