The mission of the Fusion Energy Sciences is to expand the fundamental understanding of matter at very high temperatures and densities and to build the scientific foundation needed to develop a fusion energy source. Many of the frontiers of fusion science exist at the extremes of the plasma state, a state of matter where gases are hot enough that electrons disassociate from atomic nuclei (ions), forming an ensemble of ions and electrons that can conduct electrical currents and be confined by electric and magnetic fields.

Although tremendous scientific progress has been made since the inception of fusion energy research in the United States and internationally, fusion's research frontiers remain replete with open problems of critical importance. Their solution requires understanding not only of plasma phenomena itself but also of its interaction with surrounding material structures. Novel advanced diagnostics are needed to inform scientific understanding and enhance control capabilities. Sophisticated algorithms are needed to probe and control plasma dynamics. Improved theoretical and computational models are required to elucidate the physics of laboratory and space plasmas. Commensurate with these challenges is the promise of fusion energy, which can simultaneously provide base-load power production without producing greenhouse gases, with no possibility of runaway nuclear reactions or meltdown, minimal weapons proliferation risk, and minimal generation of long-lived radioactive waste.

A number of technical workshops were held in 2015 to develop community input on key topics within the FES research portfolio. The community focused on broad research areas critical to moving the field into the burning plasma science era when there will be a strong focus on the creation and study of plasmas where the energy to sustain fusion reactions is generated by the plasma itself. These areas were Transients, Plasma-Materials Interactions, and Integrated Simulations for Magnetic Fusion Energy Sciences. A fourth workshop was held focusing on the broader scientific opportunities at the frontiers of plasma science. Applicants to the FES Postdoctoral Program are strongly encouraged to propose research in the key areas highlighted in the reports generated by these community activities.

Learn more below about exciting research in these areas and at DOE's Fusion Energy Sciences website (http://science.energy.gov/fes/).

Key Topics