Scientists have discovered a new confinement state for plasma, a massive new discovery that could have huge implications for the energy industry.
In what could be a tremendous breakthrough in the quest for fusion energy, scientists have discovered a new plasma confinement state.
A research team has been studying high density and high temperature plasma confinement via magnetic fields in an attempt to crack the code on one of the most elusive and important goals of mankind: fusion energy, which could solve pretty much all of mankind’s energy needs for the foreseeable future, according to a Headlines & Global News report.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Natural Science found that as the core temperature of plasma that has been held in this magnetic prison starts to rise, a flow of disturbed plasma called turbulence appears and starts to move in surges. If scientists can improve these so-called “magnetic islands” and the confinement state of these plasmas, they can control this intense plasma turbulence, which in turn could lead to fusion plasma that could actually generate energy.
In this particular study, scientists were able to discovery for the first time ever a new confinement state within one of these magnetic islands, which could lead to better confinement methods that would be used in a hypothetical fusion reactor.
The more detailed — and more technical explanation — from the National Institutes of Natural Science are as follows, from their news release: “In magnetically confined plasmas twofold confinement areas called magnetic islands exist. In these areas there is no temperature gradient that results in the source of turbulence. For that reason turbulence generated outside the magnetic island where a temperature gradient exists enters into the magnetic island, and the confinement state inside the magnetic island will be determined depending upon the intensity of turbulence. In future fusion plasma, too, it will be extremely important to improve the magnetic island’s confinement state. Further, even in solar plasmas, it has been indicated from solar flare emissions that magnetic islands may exist. Thus, research on turbulence in magnetic islands is an extremely important topic.”