Nuclear fusion powers the stars and offers the promise of unlimited, clean energy on Earth.
But controlled thermonuclear fusion in the lab usually requires large and expensive magnetic field coils to stably confine burning plasma, ionized nuclei that collide to initiate nuclear fusion. A&A’s Fusion Z-Pinch Experiments (FuZE) Lab has demonstrated a smaller, cheaper method: We have measured sustained nuclear fusion for the first time from a 50-cm long plasma column called a Z-pinch. This method compresses a flowing plasma using electromagnetic forces, which drive the plasma to higher temperatures and densities.
While the Z-pinch is not a new plasma confinement concept, it was largely abandoned as a path for fusion energy because the plasma was not stable, which limited how long it could be confined. To get around this issue, we exploited the fact that flows can stabilize plasma, and our flowing plasma was maintained five thousand times longer than a static plasma. We also observed the sustained release of telltale energetic neutrons signaling nuclear fusion. Because this approach provides a path to nuclear fusion without coils, it could be used in the future for long-duration fusion burns in a compact and low-cost device.
The Latest on: Nuclear fusion
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The Latest on: Nuclear fusion
- Nuclear fusion could be reality in 20 years thanks to Government green planon November 21, 2020 at 11:00 pm
Nuclear fusion could be a reality within 20 years after the Government’s green plan gave a major boost to British research projects. Long considered a pipe dream of low-risk, ch ...
- Lehigh's Plasma Control Group awarded $1.5 million DOE grant for fusion researchon November 20, 2020 at 9:22 am
How is the future of fusion power shaping up? It could boil down to a question of apples versus donuts. Lehigh University's Plasma Control Group has been awarded more than $1.5 million in funding from ...
- Tungsten develops layers under fusion reactor extreme heat conditionson November 19, 2020 at 7:03 am
In tokamaks, magnetic confinement devices being explored for use as nuclear fusion reactors, anomalous events can cause a transfer of energy with 10 million times the intensity of the solar radiation ...
- Russia’s Huge Tsar Bomb Convinced its Creator to Fight Against Nuclear Weaponson November 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm
US agencies rated the Tsar Bomba's yield at 57 million tons of TNT equivalent—far and away a world's record that still stands ...
- Scientists Recreated Nuclear Fusion From the Big Bang Under a Mountain In Italyon November 13, 2020 at 6:10 am
Scientists shot protons at a deuterium nucleus to understand what the universe was like mere minutes after it was born.
- Physicists Pin Down Nuclear Reaction From Moments After the Big Bangon November 11, 2020 at 8:03 am
In a secluded laboratory buried under a mountain in Italy, physicists have re-created a nuclear reaction that happened between two and three minutes after the Big Bang. Their measurement of the ...
- The Shape of This Machine Could Finally Move Fusion Forwardon November 9, 2020 at 6:46 am
This reactor and other fusion reactors have long-shot plans to produce energy as early as 2040. The new reactor parts include an exhaust system that hugely reduces heat output. Researchers in ...
- General Atomics wins $3.3M contract to assist in nuclear fusion project in Franceon November 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm
San Diego-based General Atomics has already taken on a major role in the United States’ contribution to an international, multi-billion dollar nuclear fusion experiment under construction in France.
- UK's spherical nuclear fusion reactor tests new heat-reducing exhauston October 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Researchers have successfully tested a new £55-million nuclear fusion machine in the UK, which could provide vital insights for a future prototype power station. The Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak ...
- This Breakthrough Could Fix the Fatal Flaw in Fusion Reactorson October 27, 2020 at 5:35 am
In the long road to nuclear fusion, scientists continue to confront one of the more prominent (and literal) bumps: edge localized modes (ELMs). These blobs form at the edge of a tokamak’s plasma ...
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