Are Physicists One Step Closer To Fusion Energy?

Submitted by: elgabalo 1 week ago in Science


We might not be there yet, but physicists working on achieving sustained nuclear fusion have found another piece of the puzzle.

A long-time puzzle in the effort to capture the power of fusion on Earth is how to lessen or eliminate a common instability that occurs in the plasma called edge localized modes (ELMs)... 
To control these bursts, scientists disturb the plasma with small magnetic ripples called resonant magnetic perturbations (RMPs) that distort the smooth, doughnut shape of the plasma—releasing excess pressure that lessens or prevents ELMs from occurring. The hard part is producing just the right amount of this 3-D distortion to eliminate the ELMs without triggering other instabilities and releasing too much energy that, in the worst case, can lead to a major disruption that terminates the plasma.

Making the task exceptionally difficult is the fact that a virtually limitless number of magnetic distortions can be applied to the plasma, causing finding precisely the right kind of distortion to be an extraordinary challenge. But no longer.

Source and additional viewing: Phys.org and Achieving 15 Million Degrees
There are 5 comments:
Male 207
There is an old nuclear physicist joke/saying:
"Fifty years ago we said fusion power will be ready in fity years. Now: fusion power will be ready in fifty years."
0
Reply
Male 12,244
1
Reply
Male 8,605
Cool. The video looks like something out of Star Trek.
1
Reply
Male 207
squrlz4ever it doesn't demonstrate the results of these new discoveries, but you can't have a post about tokamaks without a cool tokakmak video.
0
Reply
Male 8,605
elgabalo Understood. Also, thank you for introducing me to the word tokamak.
1
Reply