Research will advance fundamental understanding of basic and low-temperature plasmas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $7.6 million to support nine frontier plasma science projects at five different DOE National Laboratories.

“Better understanding the properties of plasma has many important scientific and technological applications, including high-power lasers, advanced microelectronics, and astrophysics,” said James W. Van Dam, Associate Director of DOE’s Office of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences. “The research, led by DOE National Laboratory teams, funded under this announcement will help ensure continued American leadership in this critical field.”

The projects will focus on key areas of plasma science, including the conversion of magnetic energy and turbulence, “dusty” plasmas with a suspension of electrically charged microscopic particles, and low-temperature plasma-surface interactions for applications to microelectronics and plasma medicine.

The initiative also supports research by DOE National Laboratory scientists, to be performed using plasma science facilities across the nation, including those at the University of California Los Angeles, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Auburn University, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and General Atomics in San Diego.

Of the total funding, $7.6 million is for projects of one to three years in duration, $3.2 million is being provided from Fiscal Year 2021 dollars, with outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

Awards were selected based on competitive peer review under a Funding Announcement for DOE National Laboratories titled, “Opportunities in Frontier Plasma Science,” and sponsored by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) within the Department’s Office of Science.

A list of the projects can be found on the FES homepage under the heading, “What’s New.”