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Research to Expand Understanding of the Fourth State of Matter

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $13.3 million in funding for research in plasma science.

Research will range from investigations of basic and low temperature plasmas, to efforts to improve plasma measurement and diagnostics, to experiments with what are known as high energy density laboratory plasmas, to theoretical studies in fusion plasma science. All are aimed at expanding understanding of plasma, a fourth state of matter composed of ions and free electrons, often thought to be most abundant form of matter in the visible universe.

“Plasma science is an important area with many scientific opportunities and technological applications,” said Dr. Chris Fall, Director of DOE’s Office of Science. “The research funded under this initiative will enable the U.S research community to address very important research opportunities and help ensure continued American leadership in these critical areas.”

Research will be performed by universities, nonprofits, private firms, and DOE National Laboratories.

Awards were selected based on competitive peer review under four separate DOE Funding Opportunity Announcements sponsored by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) within the Department’s Office of Science:  “Opportunities in Frontier Plasma Science,” “Measurement Innovations for Fusion Energy and Plasmas,” (both with corresponding announcements for DOE National Laboratories), “High-Energy-Density Laboratory Plasma Science,” (sponsored jointly with the National Nuclear Security Administration), and “Theoretical Research in Magnetic Fusion Energy Science.”

Funding totals $13.3million in Fiscal Year 2020 dollars for projects ranging from one to three years in duration. Lists of the projects can be found on the FES homepage under the heading, “What’s New.”