Non-USBPO Activities

Plasma-Materials Interactions Community Workshop


FES-sponsored PMI Workshop Webinar on 6/30/15: Outstanding R&D Questions and Priority Research Directions.

Agenda for PMI Workshop.

Click here for the PMI-relevant chapters from the 2009 ReNew document.

Announcement of PMI Community Workshop and Call for White Papers

R. Maingi, S. Zinkle –3/5/15

Recently Dr. Ed Synakowski requested US fusion community input in four research areas highlighted in the FESAC 2014 Strategic Priorities report. In each case, community input will be solicited in the form of written input (“white papers”) and a community workshop. One of these workshops is in the area of plasma-materials interactions (PMI). The chair and co-chair for the PMI evaluation are Rajesh Maingi (PPPL, and Steve Zinkle (Univ. Tennessee,

Valuable foundational community input in the PMI area and other fusion science topics is available from several recent assessments, including the 2009 Research Needs for Magnetic Fusion Energy Sciences Workshop (ReNeW) report and community white papers submitted for the FESAC 2014 Strategic Priorities panel assessment. Particularly with respect to the ReNeW workshop, it is timely to obtained updated community input in order to identify potential innovations or understanding that may have emerged over the past 6 years relevant to the extremely challenging issue of plasma materials interactions. Therefore, we are tasked to re-evaluate the 1) scientific challenges, and 2) options for handling those challenges in ReNeW thrusts #9-12, and the part of thrust #14 dealing with plasma-facing components, including potential synergistic effects of fusion neutron damage (these thrust #14 topics will be folded into the PMI Thrust #10).

Evaluation of each thrust will be conducted by a sub-panel, with a leader and deputy, and a number of sub-panel members. There will also be a cross-cutting group to look at common solutions suggested by each thrust that may benefit multiple thrusts. The group of sub-panel leads/deputies and cross-cutting panelists, along with Maingi and Zinkle, constitute the ‘Executive Group’ mentioned in the FES one-page description of the PMI Workshop distributed several weeks ago.

Community input is needed for the workshop to achieve its goals. Community input will be accepted via several methods: 1) talks given at an open community-led workshop, and 2) two-page white papers. Submission of the two-page white papers (length limit does not include references) will be facilitated by the US Burning Plasma Organization, and instructions will be disseminated to the community at the website The white papers should list the scientific challenges along with appropriate references, and potential solutions to those challenges where relevant. The panels will also examine the longer white papers submitted to the FESAC Strategic Priorities panel in 2014. The thrusts will conduct parallel sessions at the workshop, with details of the number of parallel session TBD. The workshop agenda for each thrust will be developed by the respective sub-panel leads, in conjunction with Maingi and Zinkle.

A three-day open workshop for community input is planned for May 4-6 at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Princeton NJ. Executive Group members will be asked to stay for an extra half day on May 7 to discuss progress and preliminary findings from the workshop. An Executive Group meeting in June as a checkpoint toward the final report is also envisioned, with specific details to be determined. The Workshop findings will be presented to the community in some type of public forum, likely via a Webinar. A report on the community input and workshop will be submitted to DOE by June 30, 2015.

Thrust evaluation leadership team

The sub-panel leaders and deputies are summarized below, with leader listed first. In conjunction with Maingi and Zinkle, the leaders/deputies will select several panelists (5- 10 per sub-panel) from the community to help with writing the workshop report. The sub- panel memberships (writers and participants) will be posted when available.

#9: Scrape off layer/divertor physics: H.Y. Guo (GA,, B. LaBombard (MIT,

#10: PMI and long pulse divertor simulators, including synergistic neutron damage effects to PFCs (from Thrust 14): J.P. Allain (UIUC,, R. Doerner (UCSD,

#11: Engineering innovations for plasma exhaust challenges: C. Kessel (PPPL,, D. Youchison (SNLA,

#12: Plasma core-edge integration: A. Hubbard (MIT,, T. Leonard (GA,

Cross-cutting group: R. Maingi (PPPL), S. Zinkle (UT-K), D. Hill (LLNL), D. Hillis (ORNL), J. Menard (PPPL), D. Whyte (MIT)

Additional Considerations

There will be two important deliverables in this community report: (1) identifying ~10-15 high-priority scientific challenges in PMI (“priority research directions”, PRDs), and (2) discussing options to address those challenges. The largest emphasis for the workshop and report will be placed on identification of the PRDs, with lower (but meaningful) discussion of potential options to resolve the PRDs. We will strive for community consensus on (1), and a list of options for (2), along with some discussion of each. As has been the case in numerous prior Office of Science Basic Research Needs workshops, specific prioritization among the identified options will not be made, but the report will strive to convey what crucial scientific knowledge might and might not be gained for the various categories of options.

The community will be asked to consider four categories for the possible ways to address the PMI challenges: (1) upgrades to existing facilities, (2) computation and validation, (3) international collaborations, and (4) new starts. Although rigid budget scenarios will not be imposed for the purposes of the workshop discussions and ensuing report, there is clear benefit in identifying a range of near- to longer-term compelling scientific challenges along with a sober discussion of advantages and risks of these four categories to resolve the various PRDs.

To submit a white paper or talk, or request a talk at the PMI workshop, click here.

Click here for a document providing White Paper guidance.





February 18

Sub-panel kickoff videoconference

Workshop and sub-panel leads and co-leads

March, April

Sub-panel organization and conference calls as needed

Sub-panel leaders and members

April 17

Deadline to request talk at workshop


April 24

Deadline to submit 2-page white papers and to register for site access to PPPL


May 4-6

Workshop on PMI

at PPPL, Princeton, NJ

Leaders and sub-panel members invited. Others may request attendance on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is a limit on total costs to National Lab and federal employees.

rest of May, June

Report preparation

Leaders and writing committee

June 30

Submit completed report to FES


Frequently Asked Questions


         How can I participate?

        Submit a 2-page white paper, see the link below to upload the paper

        Request a talk at the May 4-6 workshop @ PPPL, see same link to request a talk

        Participate in discussions at the workshop, so that the sub-panel members can properly reflect the breadth of community views

         Why is the workshop timed to be in the middle of the process, instead of the beginning or end? 

        We are following the BES examples, in that the workshop is the focal point for community input and discussion. Documentation of the community input and report synthesis is done via the sub-panels. 

         Is the workshop attendance restricted? 

        Yes. There is a 100k limit on total costs to National Lab and federal employees. An initial set of sub-panelists representing PMI leaders from diverse institutions (academia, national labs, industry) have been invited, and other participants in this category will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Universities and industry costs are not subject to the 100k cost limit. 

        Registration ( is required for site access to PPPL, and there will be a small registration fee for local costs; the site will be operational by 3/27/15.

        Can I participate in the sub-panel discussions at the workshop?

  Absolutely! This is the purpose of the workshop. All of the sessions on May 4-6 are open to attendees.

        How are the sub-panels organized and how will they formulate the report?

  The subpanel leader & deputy were first selected by the workshop leaders. Then additional participants with expertise in the specific topical area were added as members, to help collect and process community input, and to aid in the write-up of the report. The sub panel membership is linked to this page.

         Will the PMI Workshop establish priorities for research in the next N years?

        No. Due to the laws governing how DOE receives advice from the community, advice on prioritization can only come through a FACA (regulated by the "Federal Advisory Committee Act") committee like FESAC. The tradeoff is that nobody is recused from participating in these workshops.

        That having been said, the sub-panels may not be able to include all of the input they receive in their report.

         What is N?

        Nominally 10 years, but PMI issues get harder as we progress to a reactor, so certain longer terms issues cannot be completely delayed

         How will FES use the report we produce?

      –        It will help guide the prioritization of future research and allocation of resources

         How much of the workshop will be for talks vs. group discussion? How long will the talks be?

        We anticipate that 50-75% of the time in parallel sessions will be used for group discussion, with the remainder used for presentation of talks based on white papers. Talks will likely be 10-15 minutes, although the exact time depends on the number of talk requests. Because of the emphasis on discussion time, everyone who requests talks may not be granted a dedicated speaking slot.


Click here for sub-panel membership.

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