Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Lectures Plasma Physics Colloquium with Richard Buttery, General Atomics

Plasma Physics Colloquium with Richard Buttery, General Atomics

Speaker: Dr. Richard Buttery, DIII-Director, General Atomics

Title: DIII-D’s Role in the Commercialization Agenda for Fusion

Abstract: The path to fusion in the United States requires partnership between public and private sector. While the private sector provides the vigor and funding to take some of the major steps necessary, there is a depth of expertise and capability in the publicly funded sector that is vital to resolving feasible approaches. In this presentation we talk about the challenges and approaches of developing a compact fusion pilot plant, and then discuss DIII-D’s role in this path. An open national user facility such as DIII-D provides a crucial testbed in this regard, to develop and evaluate the required new technologies and approaches in relevant conditions. It offers high potential to meet this challenge thanks to its extreme flexibility, brisk upgrade cycle, and its world leading diagnostic set, to rapidly pioneer solutions and project to future reactors. The program has thus been redeveloped to meet these goals with a new user model to enable public and private sector engagement. A new technology program and testbed approach has been launched to resolve the innovation required in plasma interacting technologies. Utilizing DIII-D’s unique flexibility, plasma techniques can be pioneered to yield projectable solutions from the plasma core to the edge. And with modest heating upgrades, the facility can confront the crucial integration challenge, the so-called ‘Integrated Tokamak Exhaust and Performance’ – ITEP gap, to address performance, power handling and technology in relevant conditions, simultaneously. Finally, workforce development programs have been launched to open up access and opportunities to people from all backgrounds, part of a wider effort to diversify pathways into the field through inclusion, access, and equity. This exciting agenda is enabling scientists and technology researchers to pioneer the solutions now, in this decade, for a Fusion Pilot Plant and ITER.

Biography: Richard Buttery is Director of DIII-D National Fusion Facility, an Office of Science user facility and the largest magnetic confinement fusion device in the U.S. He graduated from the University of Manchester (UK) with a PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics and joined the UK’s national plasma physics lab, UKAEA, as a scientist researching plasma stability, through simulation and experiments. He led the UK stability program, as well as teams on the Joint European Torus and the MAST Upgrade, and undertook collaborative work in Europe and the United States. In 2009 he joined the United States andthe DIII-D program, becoming Experimental Science Director in 2012. He helped outreach between plasma physics disciplines by initiating a program on DIII-D with the discovery plasma science community on frontier foundational plasma science. He led development of a Compact Advanced Tokamak (‘CAT’) concept for a fusion pilot plant, now published in Nuclear Fusion journal. He has a diploma in management from UCSD and is a Fellow of both the UK Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society.

This talk will be offered in a hybrid format. If you wish to participate remotely, please send an email to cr2090@columbia.edu.

Event Contact Information:
APAM Department


Sep 29 2023


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



Columbia University - Mudd Hall
500 West 120th Street


Columbia University
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