miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2016

Germany's Fusion Reactor Creates Hydrogen Plasma In World First


First hydrogen plasma at the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator at MPI Greifswald 


— Mattias Marklund (@MattiasMarklund) February 3, 2016
photo credit: The experimental fusion reactor. Max Planck Institute
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have successfully conducted a revolutionary nuclear fusion experiment. Using their experimental reactor, the Wendelstein 7-X (W7X) stellarator, they have managed to sustain a hydrogen plasma – a key step on the path to creating workable nuclear fusion. The German chancellor Angela Merkel, who herself has a doctorate in physics, switched on the device at 2:35 p.m. GMT (9:35 a.m. EST).

Published on Feb 3, 2016
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel switched on the first hydrogen plasma on 3 February 2016 at a ceremony attended by numerous guests from the realms of science and politics. This will mark the start of scientific operation of Wendelstein 7-X.
As a clean, near-limitless source of energy, it’s no understatement to say that controlled nuclear fusion (replicating the process that powers the Sun) would change the world, and several nations are striving to make breakthroughs in this field. Germany is undoubtedly the frontrunner in one respect: This is the second time that it’s successfully fired up its experimental fusion reactor.




Last December, the team managed to suspend a helium plasma for the first time in history, and they’ve now achieved the same feat with hydrogen. Generating a hydrogen plasma is considerably more difficult than producing a helium one, so by producing and sustaining one in today’s experiment, even for just a few milliseconds, these researchers have achieved something truly remarkable.
Photo: The first hydrogen plasma in Wendelstein 7-X.
Photo: (IPP) Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.
As a power source, hydrogen fusion releases far more energy than helium fusion, which is why sustaining a superheated hydrogen plasma represents such a huge step for nuclear fusion research.

John Jelonnek, a physicist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, led a team that was responsible for installing the powerful heating components of the reactor. “We’re not doing this for us,” he told the Guardian, “but for our children and grandchildren.

ORIGINAL: IFLScience
by Robin Andrews
February 3, 2016 | 

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