The mission of the DIII-D Research Program is to establish the scientific basis for the optimization of the tokamak approach to fusion energy production. The DIII-D Program is a cornerstone element in the national fusion program strategy.

The DIII-D Program is a large international program, with 106 participating institutions and a research team of over 600 users. GA operates DIII-D for the Department of Energy through the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences as a true user facility. DIII-D research has been recognized a record four times with the American Physical Society Excellence in Plasma Physics Prize.

The MFE Division has been a pioneer in the toroidal magnetic confinement device called a tokamak. More specifically, this work has been with non-circular cross-section tokamaks including Doublet II and Doublet III and today with DIII-D. This early work led to the creation of similar machines worldwide, such as JET (U.K.), TCV (Switzerland), Asdex (Germany), and JT-60 (Japan).

ITER is a worldwide fusion effort and under construction in France. DIII-D with its non-circular cross-section and versatile experimental capability has had a profound impact on the design of ITER, including the development of the physics basis for key ITER issues and advanced ITER operation.

The DIII-D program is open to research proposals from all countries with which the U.S. Department of Energy has a cooperative agreement. Worldwide, we receive some 500 research proposals per year. However, funding-constrained runtime means only about 100 proposals can get time in most years.

DIII-D Status

Experimental Science

The DIII-D Experimental Science's mission is to establish the scientific basis for the optimization of the tokamak approach to fusion energy production.

Research Initiatives Aim to:

  • Prepare for Burning Plasmas: Deliver predictive understanding of the impact and optimization of burning plasma conditions on plasma performance in ITER and future devices.
  • Evaluate the Requirements for Steady-State Tokamak Operation: Provide the physics understanding that establishes the requirements for achieving efficient, high performance, steady-state operation in future fusion devices.
  • Establish the Physics Basis for Robust, Effective Plasma Boundary/Material Solutions: Develop and validate solutions for simultaneous heat and particle flux control including transients in future, high-power fusion devices (see also the link to Boundary/PMI Center).

Underpinning these goals is a further initiative to advance the fundamental understanding of fusion plasmas along a broad front, in order to provide a basis for better optimization, prediction and projection of fusion energy solutions.

Boundary/PMI Center

The DIII-D Boundary/PMI Center is responsible for divertor optimization and plasma materials interaction in the DIII-D National Fusion Facility. Its mission to develop optimized boundary/PMI solutions for the application to burning plasma devices. The center has to overarching goals. The first is to advance the scientific understanding and develop predictive capability of the non-linear and transient interaction of the boundary plasma and PMI for extrapolation to future fusion devices. The second is to develop a new divertor concept for in DIII-D to address the heat/particle exhaust and PMI issues including the main chamber wall.


The DIII-D Operations Group is responsible for the safe operation of the DIII-D National Fusion Facility that has considerable experimental flexibility and extensive diagnostic instrumentation to measure the properties of high-temperature tokamak plasmas. Existing capabilities of DIII-D include a highly flexible 2D shaping coil system to produce a wide variety of plasma shapes, flexible heating and current drive systems, three arrays of 3D-field perturbation coils
located both inside and outside the vacuum vessel, multiple disruption quench systems, over 50 state-of-the-art diagnostic systems to examine plasma parameters, and an advanced digital control system for feedback control of the plasma. These capabilities have enabled several transformational discoveries including the importance of plasma shape on performance, ELM suppression using non-axisymmetric coils, and sustained operation near the ideal wall stability limit.


A critical element in the support of a vibrant and relevant DIII-D physics program is the development of new measurement capabilities. Much of the diagnostic development and diagnostic implementation on DIII-D in the past several years has been done in collaborations between GA (the prime contractor for DIII-D) and other institutions. These collaborations have been extremely successful and the DIII-D program intends to expand the number of collaborations in the area of diagnostics in the coming years. This site is intended to give a sense of what the DIII-D diagnostic plans are and to give a flavor for the types of measurements that the research program needs. Please contact Rejean Boivin for more details or contacts.


As the number of on-site and remote collaborators continues to increase, the demands on the DIII-D National Program's computational infrastructure have become more severe. This infrastructure continues to evolve to keep pace with this every increasing demand.

The DIII-D computing environment consists of:

  • Real-time systems controlling the tokamak, auxiliary heating systems, and diagnostics
  • Systems acquiring experimental data from instrumentation
  • Major data analysis server nodes performing short term and long term data access and analysis
  • Systems to manage and serve data to the international community
  • Systems providing mechanisms for remote collaboration
  • Systems that disseminate information over with world wide web.

To carry out these diverse computer tasks, computer scientists within the DIII-D program collaborate with their colleagues at other fusion facilities as well as computer scientists who are not traditionally aligned with fusion research. This teaming is international in scope and includes universities, laboratories, and private companies. Organizations interested in exploring potential collaborations are encouraged to contact the DIII-D Director.