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    One step nearer to fusion?
    By Robert H Olley | April 27th 2012 05:16 AM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Robert H

    Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

    I would describe myself

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    Isn’t it nice when someone does your work for you?  For some years now, NIL Technololgy have been sending me science news emails as a form of advertising.  Mostly these are to do with nanotechnology, but the most recent directed me to this:
     
    Scientists propose a solution to a critical barrier to producing fusion
    Physicists have discovered a possible solution to a mystery that has long baffled researchers working to harness fusion. If confirmed by experiment, the finding could help scientists eliminate a major impediment to the development of fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for producing electric power.

    An in-depth analysis by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) zeroed in on tiny, bubble-like islands that appear in the hot, charged gases — or plasmas — during experiments. These minute islands collect impurities that cool the plasma. And it is these islands, the scientists report in the April 20 issue of Physical Review Letters, that are at the root of a long-standing problem known as the “density limit” that can prevent fusion reactors from operating at maximum efficiency.

    (continued ...)
    Is this the breakthrough?  Even if it is, there will need to be decades of development before we can keep our modern world running this way.  But even so, one small step ...


     
    Physicists being physicists.

    Comments

    MikeCrow
    there will need to be decades of development
    I look forward to commercial fusion, if I can only live long enough, it's been almost 5 decades since I read we'd have fusion in decades, well I guess it is the plural of decade...............
    Never is a long time.
    Hank
    Fusion and solar power are the two energy sources I have been hearing was right around the corner for my entire life.
    About a decade ago fusion physicists held a fusion conference in Quebec City and opened their doors to educators and included general talks. I enjoyed the day and learned a bit too.

    A funny thing happened on their way into the city. They saw a bunch of signs proclaiming, "Non à la fusion!" (no to fusion). They figured, "Here we go again. More protests against nuclear fusion." Instead the demonstration was related to municipal politics. People did not want the provincial government to fuse smaller municipalities into one!