1958 · [College Park, MD]:
Magnetic confinement in the stellarator is based on a strong magnetic field produced by solenoidal coils encircling a toroidal tube. The configuration is characterized by a 'rotational transform,' such that a single line of magnetic force, followed around the system, intersects a cross-sectional plane in points which successively rotate about the magnetic axis. A theorem by Kruskal is used to prove that each line of force in such a system generates a toroidal surface; ideally the wall is such a surface. A rotational transform may be generated either by a solenoidal field in a twisted, or figure-eight shaped, tube, or by the use of an additional transverse multipolar helical field, with helical symmetry.
Plasma confinement in a stellarator is analyzed from both the macroscopic and the microscopic points of view. The macroscopic equations, derived with certain simplifying assumptions, are used to show the existence of an equilibrium situation, and to discuss the limitations on material pressure in these solutions. The single-particle, or microscopic, picture shows that particles moving along the lines of force remain inside the stellarator tube to the same approximation as do the lines of force. Other particles are presumably confined by the action of the radial electric field that may be anticipated.
Theory predicts and observation confirms that initial breakdown, complete ionization, and heating of a hydrogen or helium gas to about 106 degrees K are possible by means of a current parallel to the magnetic field (ohmic heating). Flow of impurities from the tube walls into the heated gas, during the discharge, may be sharply reduced by use of an ultra-high vacuum system; some improvement is also obtained with a divertor, which diverts the outer shell of magnetic flux away from the discharge. Experiments with ohmic heating verify the presence of a hydromagnetic instability predicted by Kruskal for plasma currents greater than a certain critical value and also indicate the presence of other cooperative phenomena. Heating to very much higher temperatures can be achieved by use of a pulsating magnetic field. Heating at the positive-ion cyclotron resonance frequency has been proposed theoretically and confirmed observationally by Stix. In addition, an appreciable energy input to the positive ions should be possible, in principle, if the pulsation period is near the time between ion-ion collisions or the time required for a positive ion to pass through the heating section (magnetic pumping)." / "Spitzer . . . was one of the 20th century's great scientists. A renowned astrophysicist, he made major contributions in the areas of stellar dynamics, plasma physics, thermonuclear fusion, and space astronomy. Lyman Spitzer, Jr. was the first person to propose the idea of placing a large telescope in space and was the driving force behind the development of the Hubble Space Telescope. . . . In 1951, Spitzer founded the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (originally called Project Matterhorn) which was Princeton's pioneering program in controlled thermonuclear research. He pioneered efforts to harness nuclear fusion as a clean source of energy and remained the Laboratory's director until 1967." – Denise Applewhite, Princeton University, "SPITZER, Lyman Jr." JPL, Pasadena (Inventory #: S13379)