Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fusion In Our Future

Date:
September 10, 1998
Source:
Weizmann Institute
Summary:
Nuclear fusion, the same reaction that fuels the sun, holds the potential for providing humankind with a clean and limitless supply of energy. To reign in the awesome power of this reaction, numerous research teams throughout the world seek to produce fusion in a controlled manner.

Nuclear fusion, the same reaction that fuels the sun, holds the potential for providing humankind with a clean and limitless supply of energy. To reign in the awesome power of this reaction, numerous research teams throughout the world seek to produce fusion in a controlled manner. They create miniature "suns" made of hot and dense plasma, a charged gas consisting of free electrons and positive ions. No one, however, has yet succeeded in coercing the plasma's atomic nuclei into fusing. One of the problems has been the difficulty of systematically studying the plasma, whose temperatures reach millions of degrees.

Now a research team led by Prof. Yitzhak Maron of the Weizmann Institute's Particle Physics Department has for the first time developed a method for definitively determining how electricity flows through a fiery blob of plasma. This study provides crucial information about the way hot and dense plasmas are formed.

To try and produce controlled fusion in the lab, scientists "bang" the plasma with a magnetic "hammer" -- a magnetic field generated by an electric current, which contracts the plasma to a small volume and keeps it hot and dense. Maron's team, which included graduate students Gilad Davara, Lev Gregorian and Eyal Kroupp, managed to evaluate the electric current flowing through the plasma using the spectrum of the light emitted by this charged gas. Plasma is so hot and dense that its spectral lines usually become blurred. The scientists solved this problem by introducing another material into the plasma: oxygen ions that produce a neat and clear spectral line that is less disturbed by heat and density.

While the "lifespan" of plasma is less than a millionth of a second, Maron and his team were able to measure the current and track its distribution for every billionth of a second. They found that when the current first entered their 4-by-1.5 cm "roll" of plasma, it flowed on the outside of their sample. They then measured how far it penetrated into the "roll" when the plasma contracted. These measurements also enabled the scientists to determine the velocity of plasma's particles, which was found to reach 100 kilometers per second (360,000 km per hour). The experiment was conducted at about 1 million degrees centigrade, approximately one-tenth the temperature of the sun.

By knowing the behavior of the electric current, the scientists can determine the exact distribution of its magnetic field. Since this field is the driving force behind plasma compression, such measurements may help researchers understand how to condense plasma more effectively in their quest for harnessing nuclear fusion as a controlled energy source.

This research was funded in part by the Minerva Foundation, Munich, Germany, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation.

###

The Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's foremost centers of scientific research and graduate study. Its 2,500 scientists, students, technicians, and engineers pursue basic research in the quest for knowledge and the enhancement of the human condition. New ways of fighting disease and hunger, protecting the environment, and harnessing alternative sources of energy are high priorities.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weizmann Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Weizmann Institute. "Fusion In Our Future." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980910074918.htm>.
Weizmann Institute. (1998, September 10). Fusion In Our Future. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980910074918.htm
Weizmann Institute. "Fusion In Our Future." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980910074918.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Cycle World (July 30, 2014) The Bonnier Motorcycle Group presents Smoked; a three part video series. In this episode the 2015 Ducati Diavel takes on the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Video provided by Cycle World
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins