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Virtual WN@TL: “Fusion Energy: Harnessing the Power of the Sun on Earth”
December 16, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Speaker: Steffi Diem, Engineering Physics
The potential to use fusion as a carbon-free, fuel-abundant energy source to meet the world’s growing energy demands has motivated significant US and international research. At present, the global fusion community is embarking on a new era to demonstrate net fusion power production with the construction of ITER, a fusion reactor that uses a donut-shaped magnetic field to confine 150 million C plasma (10x hotter than the center of the sun) with the goal of producing 500 MW of fusion power. This talk will illustrate the concept of magnetic fusion energy and highlight Pegasus-III, a new fusion research facility being pursued at UW to address reactor relevant challenges for fusion energy.
Prof. Diem’s research interests are in experimental plasma physics for fusion energy development with emphasis on validating numerical models with experimental data. She focuses on utilizing radiofrequency waves to heat and drive current in magnetically confined plasmas. Prof. Diem’s current research is focused on electron Bernstein wave and electron cyclotron heating and current drive experiments on Pegasus-III at UW-Madison as well as collaborations domestically and internationally on RF injection in magnetically confined plasmas. She received her PhD in Plasma Physics from Princeton University and BS in Nuclear Engineering from UW-Madison. Prior to joining the faculty at UW-Madison, Prof. Diem was a Research and Development Staff Scientist in the Fusion Energy Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and was on long-term assignment at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility at General Atomics in San Diego, CA.