Scientists Find a Way to Control Nuclear Fusion Reactions on Earth

Radio frequency and the temperature has been used by experts at the Princeton University and the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) to steady tokamaks and stellarators, the white-hot and volatile plasma that moves inside of fusion reactors.

The radiofrequency disrupts the magnetic islands that are created as well as the plasma flow while the temperature increases the steadying effect.

The tokamak fusion involves a twisting donut that is as hot as the sun and as it moves through the reaction chamber, it is contained in a strong magnetic field. This allows the plasma to be “free floating” without touching anything. There is a side effect to this called “bubble-like structures” called magnetic islands.

According to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “These may be produced from helical current perturbations in the plasma.” “Physically the islands are a result of having a harmonic component of the radial component of the perturbed magnetic field in resonance with the unperturbed rational surface field lines, in the presence of shear.”

When the island disrupts the flow of the plasma, the tokamak can lose the temperature which can take some time to recover and the plasma can damage the tokamak itself, which is tough to prepare. It has been difficult for scientists to overcome this for decades.

This new development has the potential to change this and experts are excited by the possibilities for new avenues of research this opens.

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