SSX seeks new post doc for ALPHA work

Job Description

SSX among awards of ARPA-E funding through the ALPHA project tackling fusion

ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy) has made over $30 million available for research grants in alternative fusion research through a program called ALPHA (Accelerating Low Cost Plasma Heating and Assembly). Swarthmore has received a contract from this agency to study the prospects of a twisted Taylor state as a target for a fusion energy reactor. While the turbulent evolution of the Taylor state has been a recent focus of the SSX lab, this new project will explore the compression properties of this spring-like magnetized plasma. The contract will run for three years and allow the construction of four pulse power circuits and eight copper coils. This equipment will allow the plasma produced in SSX to be very strongly pushed or compressed. SSX is among nine projects to have received funding from ARPA-E for the ALPHA effort. The full description for the SSX project is below. See the announcement and list of funded teams.


Swarthmore College – Swarthmore, PA Plasma Accelerator on the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment- $493,238

Swarthmore College, in collaboration with Bryn Mawr College, will design, develop, and test two flexible, low cost plasma acceleration modules on the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX). These modules will accelerate non-axisymmetric magnetized plasma plumes, formed by allowing a spheromak plasma to evolve in a large aspect ratio cylindrical chamber. Accelerating and colliding these plumes at high speeds and densities may enable the formation of a new kind of plasma target for magnetized target fusion. The SSX experiments offer a high rate of low-cost experimentation and a mature diagnostic suite, which will enable rapid progress in understanding these plasma plumes and illuminate their potential as new targets in the ALPHA program.


New Insights into the Physics behind Stormy Space Weather that can Create Havoc on Earth 

Earthly experiments are helping scientists probe the physics of plasma in space.

APS-DPP Press Release [pdf]