Remote-control plasma physics experiment is named one of top Webcams of 2018

January 23, 2019 by Larry Bernard, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Students control a 10,000-degree plasma in the RGDX at PPPL. Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications

Want to create your own plasma? You can create and control a plasma from the comfort of your own device.

The Remote Glow Discharge Experiment (RGDX) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) allows you to turn on a and change the gas pressure, the voltage, and the strength of the electromagnets surrounding it from wherever you are. From a , you can control a plasma with a magnetic field, the same way scientists control a plasma in a tokamak, the magnetic devices that scientists use in fusion experiments.

Now, the RGDX has been named one of the "25 Most Interesting Webcams of 2018" by EarthCam - a website that collects webcams from thousands of sites across the globe and has been seen by 3.6 million viewers over the past six months. Judges from USA Today, CBS News, and elsewhere voted on "the most unique and interesting webcams of 2018" and ranked the RGDX in the top 25. You can find RGDX and the rest of the awardees here: https://www.earthcam.com/top25/2018/

"The Remote Glow Discharge Experiment can be used from anywhere in the world," said Arturo Dominguez, Ph.D., senior program leader in the Science Education department at PPPL. "Create and control a 10,000-degree plasma housed at the lab from your phone or laptop and explore how magnets can be used to manipulate and confine it."

Physicist Arturo Dominguez, senior program leader in science education and developer of the RGDX. Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications

Fusion, which releases boundless energy by fusing in the state of matter known as plasma, could produce clean and virtually limitless power for generating electricity for cities and industries everywhere. Capturing and controlling fusion energy is therefore a key scientific and engineering challenge for researchers throughout the world.

"We are geeking out over this awesome live webcam at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in New Jersey," the Earthcam judges said. "The interactive camera invites you to be a part of the Remote Glow Discharge Experiment. Control the pressure, voltage, and inside the and watch how the plasma reacts. Oh, the power!"

You can visit the RGDX Lab at https://scied-web.pppl.gov/rgdx/.

Provided by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory