Marketing Briefs

Optical Counting and Localization of Suspended Particles Using a Hough Transform

Inventors: Robert Goldston, Michael Hepler

Published: 4/4/2022

Researchers at Princeton University and PPPL have developed a new method for counting bubbles in non-electronic, superheated emulsion bubble neutron detectors. Traditional single-image counting techniques lose accuracy as objects occlude one another at higher densities. By combining the bubble position data of multiple images, this technology overcomes the occultation limit from previous imaging methods and can identify the unique identity and three-dimensional location of the bubbles within the detector volume.

Debris mitigation in laser produced plasmas using three-dimensional manipulation of magnetic topology

Inventors: Ahmed Diallo, Christopher Smiet, Ben Israeli, Marien Simeni Simeni

Published: 4/4/2022

Moore's law dictates that computer chips become ever smaller. The devices that fabricate these chips are facing constraints governed by fundamental physics. In order to achieve small chip size, the next generation of photolithography devices uses extreme ultraviolet (EUV) in order to produce smaller components. EUV is generated using laser produced plasma consisting of vaporizing tin droplets thousands of times a second with high powered lasers. This method can generate large amounts of high energy light, but the resulting debris eventually coats critical components inside the machine. This is especially detrimental to the delicate mirror which loses its reflectivity after a given number of shots. 

Charged debris particles moving through a magnetic field will be deflected from their original path, and careful configurations of magnetic fields can thus alter these trajectories and steer the particles away from the sensitive components. Disclosed is a method of debris mitigation in laser produced plasma EUV light sources. The method describes a class of magnetic field configurations which exhausts debris away from sensitive components of the EUV device. This class contains a large range of configurations that may be suited and tuned to specific application requirements with a high degree of flexibility and can be generated by coils that are located away from the light collection cone. 

­Permanent Magnet Stellarator Design

Inventors: David Gates, Caoxiang Zhu, Kenneth Hammond

Published: 3/30/2022

PPPL inventors have developed a novel procedure for designing an array of magnets for confining stellarator plasmas using a small number of unique magnet parts. The parts consist of identically shaped cubes, each of which is polarized along one of as few as three unique orientations. The procedure has been shown to arrive at solutions in which the surface-averaged relative normal component of the magnetic field on the plasma boundary is well below 1%, satisfying physics requirements for field accuracy. An additional distinguishing feature of this procedure is that the polarization directions of the magnets need not be pre-specified; rather, they can be optimized in such a way as to make more efficient use of the available space for magnets.

Low-Temperature Plasma Device for Sterilization and Anti-Viral Applications

Inventors: Yevgeny Raitses, Shurik Yatom, Sophia Gershman

Published: 3/30/2022

Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University have designed a flexible dielectric-barrier discharge (DBD) device which produces a uniform, cold plasma for disinfection and sterilization. The device can easily be made into desirable geometries for a multitude of applications. Cold plasma from DBD devices has been previously shown to have beneficial biological effects and promote significant killing of bacteria and virus inactivation without inducing thermal or other damage to materials or tissues.  The effect of plasma from the device can be enhanced with various substances thereby enhancing the plasma-induced chemical reactivity. The device is very simple in operation, constructed from inexpensive components and powered by a simple and compact power source that can be battery powered.

A rocket thruster that could take humans to Mars and beyond

Inventor: Fatima Ebrahimi

Published: 3/30/2022

A new type of rocket thruster propels a spacecraft by taking advantage of the physical mechanism that accelerates solar flares. The thruster would apply magnetic fields to force particles of electrically charged gas, or plasma, to shoot out the back of a rocket at high velocity, causing forward momentum. The new thruster would propel a spacecraft far more efficiently than currently available plasma thrusters, which use electric fields to propel particles. That higher efficiency could bring the outer planets within reach of astronauts.

Plasma Systems for Air Decontamination

Inventors: Shurik Yatom, Sophia Gershman, Yevgeny Raitses, Philip Efthimion

Published: 3/30/2021

Motivated by the current COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at PPPL have designed a novel plasma-based in-situ device for decontaminating air flow from viruses and bacteria in real time. The use of cold, low temperature plasma to eradicate pathogens is a tested and effective technology. The device is a new steady state approach to continuously decontaminate air in ventilation systems with heating and/or air conditioning without inducing thermal or other damage. This technology uses atmospheric plasma discharge technology for the purpose of producing cold non-equilibrium plasma(s) directed toward the targeted surface. The device can easily be made into a desirable geometry. The device is very simple in operation, constructed from inexpensive components, and powered by a simple and compact power source.

Plasma Based in-situ Method to Sanitize in Real Time Door Knobs, Handles, Medical Equipment, Push Buttons, and Other Surfaces

Inventors: Kenneth Silber, Charles Gentile

Published: 8/28/2020

Motivated by the current COVID-19 pandemic, Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University have designed a novel plasma-based in-situ method for disinfecting surfaces in real time. The use of plasma to eradicate pathogens is a tested and effective technology in applications such as wound healing. The device is a new steady state approach to continuously disinfect surfaces that are often touched such as doorknobs, ATM keypads, elevator buttons,  escalators hand rails, subway turnstiles and Casino slot machines.

Chemically Enhanced Plasma Sterilizer (CEPS)

Inventors: Yevgeny Raitses, Sophia Gershman, Shurik Yatom, Philip Efthimion

Published: 8/27/2020

Researchers at PPPL have designed a chemically enhanced plasma sterilizer (CEPS) which uses atmospheric pressure cold plasma enhanced with a chemical reagent and UV light to provide sterilization and disinfection of bio-contaminated surfaces such as skin of human hands (with minimized UV), face masks, gloves, medical bandages, thin non-conductive and weakly conductive materials (e.g. paper, rubber, fabric, leather). Compared to the existing plasma-based sterilization devices, a key novelty of the CEPS is in a unique combination and synergy of bioactive plasma properties which include chemically active radicals, UV, electric field at the plasma-surface interface, surface charging, current, with the treatment of a large surface area. The CEPS are both scalable and useable by an individual consumer.

Low-Temperature Plasma Device for Sterilization and Anti-Viral Applications

Inventors: Yevgeny Raitses, Shurik Yatom, Sophia Gershman

Published: 8/27/2020

Researchers at PPPL have designed a flexible dielectric-barrier discharge (DBD) device which produces a uniform, cold plasma for disinfection and sterilization. The device can easily be made into desirable geometries for a multitude of applications. Cold plasma from DBD devices has been previously shown to have beneficial biological effects and promote significant killing of bacteria and virus inactivation without inducing thermal or other damage to materials or tissues. The effect of plasma from the device can be enhanced with various substances thereby enhancing the plasma-induced chemical reactivity. The device is very simple in operation, constructed from inexpensive components and powered by a simple and compact power source that can be battery powered.

Self-Disinfecting Plasma Fabric

Inventors: Yevgeny Raitses, Sophia Gershman, Shurik Yatom, Philip Efthimion

Published: 8/26/2020

Researchers at PPPL have designed a self-disinfecting plasma fabric (SPDF) comprised of a specially woven electrical discharge source where plasma is ignited within the textile. The plasma sterilizes the fabric from within and can also be used to sterilize surfaces in contact with the fabric. SDPF is a textile and can be used to make garments, Personal Protective Equipment, wound dressings, covers, pads, masks, upholstery and much more. The disinfecting action is due to the bioactive properties of low temperature plasmas including active radicals, UV, and surface charges.

An Ultrasonic Plasma Microphone for Structural Health Monitoring

Inventor: Johan Carlsson

Published: 9/19/2018

Researchers at PPPL have invented a plasma microphone. The device uses plasma, an electrically conducting gas created by applying a voltage between two electrodes, to transduce acoustic waves to electronic signals. As a sound wave propagates through plasma, the pressure perturbation changes the electrical resistivity, which causes a current fluctuation that can be extracted as an electronic signal. The plasma microphone has high sensitivity that is virtually independent of frequency, a distinct advantage over conventional microphones that makes it ideally suited as a contact microphone for structural-health monitoring (SHM) applications. SHM utilizes spontaneous ultrasonic acoustic emissions (AEs) from micro fracturing in concrete and metal to detect, locate and characterize damage. The AEs of interest have a frequency range of 100 kHz to 1 MHz.

Lithium Coating to Remove Impurities in Vacuum Systems

Inventors: Dang Cai, Robert Kaita, Richard Majeski

Published: 7/19/2018

Removing water and impurities from the walls of the chamber of is an important consideration in sensitive high vacuum systems. Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab have invented a new process to quickly release lithium vapor into these systems, using a porous stainless steel tube containing liquid lithium and a heating element. Designed to control impurities in fusion reactors, this invention also has immediate application in chemical and physical vapor deposition industries.

Plasma-Based Laser Pulse System: Higher Power, Sharper Wavefront

Inventors: Kenan Qu, Nathaniel Fisch

Published: 6/15/2018

Current laser systems are inherently brilliance-limited by the ability of the internals to resist damage by the laser. To overcome this thermal threshold, researchers at PPPL have invented techniques to improve the current laser amplifiers based on Raman instability in plasmas. A process was invented to use magnetized plasmas as the gain media combine counter-propagating laser beams. Using magnetized plasma to mediate energy transfer makes it possible to use pump lasers of higher frequency or lower intensity to produce output pulses with higher intensity and longer duration.

Decreased Fabrication Cost of High Performance Super Conducting Magnets

Inventor: Yuhu Zhai

Published: 5/14/2018

Decreasing the cost of manufacturing high performance super conducting magnets is important for many industries including NMR and MRI magnets. Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab have invented a new method to simplify the Nb3Sn coil winding process to reduce organic insulation and liquid He3 cooling requirements. At the same time, this process increases winding pack density and structural integrity.

Calibration Procedures for Rotating Lorentz-Force Flowmeters: Non-Contact Flow Measurement for Electrically Conductive Fluids

Inventor: Michael Hvasta

Published: 8/24/2017  

Measuring the flowrate of extremely high-temperature or chemically aggressive fluids is a challenge faced by a variety of different industrial processes (e.g. metal casting, nuclear power, concentrated solar power, chemical production, etc.). Rotating Lorentz-force flowmeters (RLFFs) are non-contact devices that can operate within these systems by measuring subtle changes of the Lorentz-force produced by the flowing liquid.  (The Lorentz-force is generated when the fluid flows across a magnetic field produced by the RLFF.). Traditionally, calibrating these flowmeters has been challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. However, researchers at PPPL have developed simple calibration procedures that eliminate the need for calibration equipment, numerical modeling, or redundant flowmeters.

A New Class of Focusing Crystal Surfaces for the Bragg Spectroscopy of High-Density Plasmas and Small (Point-Like) X-Ray Sources

Inventors: Manfred Bitter, Kenneth Hill, Philip Efthimion, Luis Delgado-Aparicio, Novimir Pablant

Published: 5/1/2017

Researchers at PPPL have identified a new class of crystal surfaces that makes it possible to maximize the photon throughput of a Bragg crystal spectrometer for a specified spectral range. Currently, the x-ray Bragg spectroscopy of laser-produced high-density plasmas applies only standard crystal forms, such as flat crystals, spherically, cylindrically, or toroidally bent crystals and crystals of a logarithmic-spiral form, which offer very limited options for an optimization of the photon throughput in the desired spectral range. For instance, when log-spiral crystals are employed, the spectral range and photon throughput must be adapted to the given length of the crystal by varying the crystal’s position relative to the x-ray source - a method, which leads to focusing errors and a deterioration of the spectral resolution. This invention makes such compromises unnecessary. It describes a general class of new focusing crystal surfaces for the x-ray Bragg spectroscopy of (point-like) high-density plasmas that make it possible to optimize both spectral resolution and photon throughput for the desired spectral range and a given length of the crystal.

A Multi-Cone X-Ray Imaging Bragg Crystal Spectrometer

Inventors: Manfred Bitter, Kenneth Hill, Philip Efthimion, Luis Delgado-Aparicio, Novimir Pablant, Lan Gao

Published: 5/1/2017

Researchers at PPPL have designed a new multi-cone x-ray imaging Bragg crystal spectrometer for the spectroscopy of small (point-like) x-ray sources, which in contrast to Hall’s, currently used standard single-cone x-ray crystal spectrometer, can provide high spectral resolutions of E/ΔE=10,000 for each wavelength in a selectable spectral range. Another important advantage of this new multi-cone x-ray imaging Bragg crystal spectrometer is that it can easily be adapted to the conditions at high-power laser facilities, such as NIF, where the possible arrangements of crystal and detector are determined by experimental constraints.

Self-Aligning Mirror Mechanism for Transmission Line Offset Correction

Inventors: Michael Gomez, Cara Bagley, Benjamin Tobias, Ali Zolfaghari, Alexandros Gerakis, Mary Demetillo

Published: 8/30/2016

Researchers at PPPL have designed a self-aligning mirror mechanism for transmission line offset correction. The self-aligning mechanism automatically adjusts mirrors to couple radiation between two or more offset waveguides or optical fibers. It is currently used to direct microwaves through two offset waveguides that are moving relative to each other. The uniqueness of this device is that it is self-aligning and functions to maintain critical geometric relationships necessary to allow for wave passage while adapting to externally driven fluctuations.

Distributed Intelligence Architecture for Real-Time Control, Protection and Instrumentation Systems

Inventors: Hans Schneider, Greg Tchilinguirian

Published: 7/25/2016

Researchers at PPPL have combined concepts of data flow prioritization management, cognitive neuroscience, and smart sensing to create a distributed intelligence network. This invention describes a distributed intelligence network which combines innovative bus architecture, smart sensors, and a system controller configured to generate, transmit, and learn from the nature and sequence of evolving data streams. The network uses machine learning algorithms to improve situational awareness over time at the Sensor and System level. The system can also group, prioritize, and control the movement and rate of transmission of various data streams in order to act on specific event triggers that are sensed by the sensing elements.

Self-Aligning Mirror Mechanism for Transmission Line Offset Correction

Inventors: Michael Gomez, Cara Bagley, Benjamin Tobias, Ali Zolfaghari

Published: 7/13/2016

Researchers at PPPL have designed a self-aligning mirror mechanism for transmission line offset correction. The self-aligning mechanism automatically adjusts mirrors to couple radiation between two or more offset waveguides or optical fibers. It is currently used to direct microwaves through two offset waveguides that are moving relative to each other. The uniqueness of this device is that it is self-aligning and functions to maintain critical geometric relationships necessary to allow for wave passage while adapting to externally driven fluctuations. It is anticipated that it may also be used in optical applications to maintain critical alignment, substituting flat mirrors for waves with small spot sizes (such as lasers).

Piezoelectric Dust Levitator

Inventors: James Mitrani, Dennis Mansfield, A. Lane Roquemore

Published: 11/24/2015

Researchers at PPPL have developed a novel device that uses a piezoelectric disk to levitate small particles ranging from 10 nm to 1 mm in diameter. The piezoelectric dust levitator is capable of levitating commercially available nanoparticle powders, which can be used as a source for various volumetric optical diagnostics. In addition, the piezoelectric dust levitator provides a straightforward pathway to further research on nanoparticles in air without the interference of high electric or magnetic fields.

New Design for Reducing Hall Thrusster Chamber Wall Erosion

Inventors: Robert Kaita, Michael Jaworski, Igor Kaganovich, Yevgeny Raitses

Published: 10/19/2015

Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, have proposed a new design for extending the lifetime of hall thrusters. Hall thrusters have been established as a compact and reliable means for satellite applications. Erosion of the surfaces of such thrusters, however, has been a serious factor in limiting their lifetimes. Replacing eroded surfaces by replenishing them is generally unattractive because of the mechanical complexity. This invention addresses this concern using a lightweight material (liquid lithium) in a porous medium that when heated, draws the lithium to the thruster surface without any mechanical components. Lithium vapor shielding can protect the thruster surfaces from erosion. The ensuing vapor cloud of lithium then allows heat dissipation to occur. The benefit of using lithium as a thruster fuel may further outweigh the cost.

Electrical Detector for Detecting Liquid Metal leaks

Inventors: Jacob Schwartz, Michael Jaworski

Published: 10/12/2015

Researchers at PPPL have designed an electrical detector for detecting liquid metal leaks. Liquid metal has unique physical properties and many applications. For instance, liquid lithium is a candidate plasma facing component (PFC) material for a fusion reactor. Liquid lithium, liquid antimony alloys and liquid gallium electrodes can be utilized in liquid metal batteries and high-power electrical switches. Liquid metal leaks can be dangerous and hazardous. As a result, liquid metal devices require close monitoring and leak detectors are necessary. This invention is an electrical detector which detects liquid metal leaks based on metals’ electrical conductivity. The detecting component can also cool down the leaked liquid metal and help solidify it. The leak signal is transmitted to a safety control device, which shuts off power supply for the liquid metal device upon detection of leaks. Such protective actions prevent damage to personnel and equipment.

Uses of Hyperthermal Atomic Beam for Low Temperature Diamond Growth

Inventors: Samuel Cohen, Erik Gilson, Winston Chan

Published: 10/30/2014

Researchers at PPPL and SRI International have teamed to develop a process for low temperature diamond growth by using hyperthermal atomic beams to enhance diffusion of adsorbates by their collision with hyperthermal neutral atoms or molecules. The high-flux hyperthermal source, based on a helicon plasma generator, is estimated to achieve a surface diffusion constant of 1x10-8cm2/s.

Disposable Vacuum Viewport Protector

Inventors: Yuan Shi, Yevgeny Raitses

Published: 9/16/2014

Industry and research facilities face unwanted vacuum viewport coating issues. For example, during low temperature plasma experiments, metallic films can develop on vacuum viewports, obscuring observation. The impaired viewports can either be replaced, which is costly, or cleaned. The cleaning of viewports requires a sequence of time-consuming procedures and may not be able to fully recover the transparency of the viewports. Researchers at PPPL have developed a disposable vacuum viewport protector which provides an easy and economical solution to unwanted coating problems in vacuum systems. These inexpensive films are applied via a peel-and-stick mechanism similar to screen protectors for mobile phones.

Fueling Method for Small, Steady-State, Aneutronic FRC Fusion Reactors

Inventors: Samuel Cohen, Daren Stotler, Michael Buttolph

Published: 6/23/2014

Researchers at PPPL have disclosed a method to efficiently supply controlled and accurately timed amounts of deuterium and the rare element, 3He, to the core of small field-reversed-configuration (FRC) fusion reactors. This method is an essential procedure for these fusion reactors, enabling steady power production and very low levels of radioactivity. Conventional fueling methods, e.g., gas puffing or frozen-pellet or CT injection, used for the mainstream magnetic fusion device, the tokamak, are complex and inefficient because tokamaks are relatively large and dense. Additionally, intense recycling of the tokamak plasma makes those methods lossy. The disclosed technology avoids these problems and has the advantage of allowing the fuel to be supplied in a continuous stream with millisecond control over rate, hence fusion power.

Display of Tournament Bracket

Inventors: Eliot Feibush, Michael Knyszek, Matthew Lotocki, Jared Miller, Andrew Zwicker

Published: 5/12/2014

Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University have developed a display system which gives sports and academic tournament organizers a very powerful tool for managing and communicating the results of every match. An electronic display of the tournament brackets is provided. An entire 32 team double elimination tournament can be shown on a single high definition screen. The presentation is formatted for display in a web browser on a computer. A high resolution screen can show the entire tournament without scrolling. This provides an electronic scoreboard that can be located anywhere on the Internet. These screens can run unattended and show all the results. Hand-held mobile devices can also show the display but may require scrolling to see all rounds.

Process for Administering Distributed Academic Competitions

Inventors: Eliot Feibush, Andrew Zwicker, James Morgan, Benjamin Phillips

Published: 5/12/2014

Academic competitions, such as a “Science Bowl,” involve dozens of teams. Several matches are played simultaneously in different rooms on the site.  Administering the match and advancing teams to subsequent rounds is challenging.  Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University have developed a process which articulates and streamlines the process while enhancing the awareness of players, officials, and spectators.  The displayed presentation of the scoreboard clock is a significant improvement over hand-written results.

Method for Controlling of Spatial and Temporal Variations of Plasma Properties in Plasma Devices With Crossed Electric and Magne

Inventors: Yevgeny Raitses, Alexsandr Merzhevskiy

Published: 3/14/2014

Researchers at PPPL have proposed  a new method of crafting spatial variations of the electron cross-field transport to control macroscopic plasma properties, including the electron field, electron temperature and plasma density, and their spatial distributions in relevant E cross B plasma devices such as Hall and helicon plasma thrusters, and plasma-beam devices for material processing.

A Novel Objective for EUV Microscopy and EUV Lithography

Inventors: Manfred Bitter, Kenneth Hill, Philip Efthimion

Published: 1/13/2014

Researchers at PPPL have proposed a novel device for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectroscopy, EUV microscopy, and EUV lithography at wavelengths below 100 nm. Princeton is seeking an industry partner to develop and commercialize this technology. This new EUV device consists of two concentric, concave and convex spherical mirrors or reflectors and can be assembled and aligned using standard procedures for the assembly and alignment of optical components. By eliminating the shortcomings of presently used optical systems, this new device could lead to substantial advancements and cost savings in the manufacturing process, and make significant contributions to EUV lithography at wavelengths in the range from 10 to 15 nm, which is being developed for the manufacture of next-generation integrated circuits.

Optimization of the Configuration of Pixilated Detectors for the X-Ray Spectroscopy of Hot Plasmas Based on the Shannon-Nyquist

Inventors: Manfred Bitter, Kenneth Hill, Luis Delgado-Aparicio, Novimir Pablant, Eric Wang

Published: 4/29/2013

Inventors from PPPL have developed a novel method of optimizing the configuration of pixilated radiation detectors, such that radiation in different x-ray energy ranges can be simultaneously recorded by a single detector. In order to detect spectra from multiple ion species or radiation in different energy ranges, existing technologies require separate spectrometers and detectors for each ion species. To maximize efficiency and minimize cost in x-ray spectroscopy, inventors from Princeton have developed a novel method based on the Shannon-Nyquist sampling and interpolation theorem that makes it possible to record spectra from multiple sources simultaneously with only one pixilated detector. The optimization of the detector configuration is such that there are sets of pixels distributed across the entire detector, each assigned to its own frequency range. As a result, data can be collected in less time without any loss of information, using only a single physical detector. This detector optimization was successfully utilized in two major diagnostic systems, a high-resolution x-ray imaging crystal spectrometer and an x-ray pinhole camera. This invention has far-reaching applications in industry and homeland security, where pixel detectors can be used more efficiently.

Cold Sterilization of Plastic Containers

Inventor: John Schmidt

Published: 12/1/2011

The sterilization of plastic containers for beverage, food and pharmaceutical products is a significant cost to the associated industries. Currently, plastic containers are sterilized using heat, which necessitates the use of polymers that can withstand the high temperature without degrading or deforming. These heat resistant polymers have a cost of up to 1.7 times that of comparable lower temperature products. As such, any improvements in the sterilization process will have a large economic impact. Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have developed a new process for sterilization of plastic containers does not employ heat, gamma radiation or chemical agents. The method uses a cold plasma discharge under partial vacuum conditions. This new method lends itself to high speeds and volumes as sterilization takes place in seconds. The process uses non-exotic equipment. A functional prototype of the equipment exists.