Challenges in Modeling of Plasma-Material Interactions for Fusion Applications

Modeling has been successful in explaining many of the features of controlled thermonuclear plasmas, and predicting the performance of future fusion reactors. Among the assumptions made by such models is that low levels of impurities have been achieved and maintained in fusion plasmas. These impurities are the result of plasma-material interactions (PMI) that involve the walls of fusion devices, and the realistic modeling of the complex physical and chemical processes involved has been extremely difficult. Recent computational advances have not only enabled detailed comparisons between experiment and theory, but have explained phenomena that were unexpected from simple pictures of PMI. This talk will provide examples from both fusion research devices1,2 and laboratory experiments, and discuss outstanding challenges in PMI modeling.


*Work supported by USDOE Contract DE-AC02-09CH11466.

1 (National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade)

2 (Lithium Tokamak Experiment)



Dr. Robert Kaita1 (B. Sc. Stony Brook ‘73) is a physicist in the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he is Head of Boundary Physics Operations for the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade. He is also Co-Principal Investigator for the Lithium Tokamak Experiment, which is the only tokamak in the world with a liquid lithium wall to improve plasma performance. Dr. Kaita’s research focuses on plasma-surface interactions and “first-wall” materials for fusion reactors. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the Kaul Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics for pioneering work in the use of liquid lithium metal as a renewable wall for fusion devices. 1


Dr. Robert Kaita


Thursday, September 28, 2017


1 pm - 2 pm


IACS Seminar Room