December 5, 2008

Radio technique keeps fusion gas in place

Hit the right type of helium gas with the right frequencies of high-power radio waves and you have an efficient way to drive extremely hot gas around inside a fusion reactor.

The ion-cyclotron-frequency mode-conversion technique efficiently confines plasma and minimizes turbulence, key prerequisites for future higher-power fusion reactors that could one day generate more power than they consume.

Fusion generates energy by fusing atomic nuclei at extremely high temperatures and pressures. Fusion is how the sun is powered. The fusion reactor control technique is an advance on the long road to harnessing fusion as a practical energy source.

Research paper:
Observation of Ion-Cyclotron-Frequency Mode-Conversion Flow Drive in Tokamak Plasmas
Physical Review Letters, December 5, 2008

Researchers' homepage:
Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Related stories and briefs:
Stability for fusion experiments -- related research

Back to ERN December 15/22, 2008



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