Nuclear and Atomic Physics


Compact Fusion Power Plants

Authors: George Rajna

Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego have demonstrated a new approach for injecting microwaves into a fusion plasma that doubles the efficiency of a critical technique that could have major implications for future fusion reactors. [46] Most fusion experiments employ either magnetic confinement, which relies on powerful magnetic fields to contain a fusion plasma, or inertial confinement, which uses heat and compression to create the conditions for fusion. [45] Fusion reactors operate by confining a "soup" of charged particles, known as a plasma, within powerful magnetic fields. [44] Without this detailed understanding, scientists cannot reliably predict how to effectively heat plasma, affecting the design of fusion facilities and potentially limiting fusion performance in tokamak fusion devices. [43] A team at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility recently took a different approach to studying these difficult-to-measure particles. [42] Plasma particle accelerators more powerful than existing machines could help probe some of the outstanding mysteries of our universe, as well as make leaps forward in cancer treatment and security scanning-all in a package that's around a thousandth of the size of current accelerators. [41] The Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has started to assemble a new facility for revolutionary accelerator technologies that could make future accelerators 100 to 1,000 times smaller and boost their capabilities. [40] The authors designed a mechanism based on the deployment of a transport barrier to confine the particles and prevent them from moving from one region of the accelerator to another. "There is strong experimental evidence that there is indeed some new physics lurking in the lepton sector," Dev said. [38]

Comments: 80 Pages.

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[v1] 2019-10-21 12:11:48

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