Research

China's Artificial Sun Creates 100 Million Degree Plasma Core

China's Artificial Sun Creates 100 Million Degree Plasma Core

While that comparison in itself is mind-blowing, the temperature also has another important significance for nuclear energy researchers: 100 million degrees Celsius is thought to be the minimum temperature needed for self-sustaining nuclear fusion on Earth.

It should be noted that the core of our real Sun is just 15 million degrees Celsius hot.

"The power injection exceeded 10MW, and plasma stored energy boosted to 300 kJ after scientists optimized the coupling of different heating techniques, and utilized advanced plasma control, theory/simulation prediction".

Researchers set up the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) fusion reactor in 2006 to generate energy by replicating the process used by our Sun. Nuclear fusion programmes like EAST are working to reach that state on Earth and harvest the energy produced, potentially providing an unlimited amount of clean energy.

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In theory, nuclear fusion reactors could produce huge amounts of environmentally friendly energy by fusing hydrogen atoms into helium, similar to the reactions at the core of sun. It is this plasma that led EAST to heat to such a high temperature.

The EAST reactor's achievement in heating charged particles up to 100 million degrees could be a milestone on the way to developing fusion power plants. Gong said the experimental temperature was about 50 million degrees Celsius past year.

Researchers from China's "Hefei Institutes of Physical Sciences" announced the news on their website on Nov 14, "China's "Artificial Sun" achieves major breakthrough". The facility is 11 meters tall, with a diameter of 8 meters, and a weight of 400 tons. This marks China as the first country to design and develop such an equipment on its own, according to China Daily.

The team says that it was able to achieve fully non-inductive steady-state scenario with high confinement, high density, and high energy confinement enhanced factor during test operations. With the help of Tokamak devices like EAST, this might be possible.