Latest Alcator C-Mod Stories
In the quest for fusion energy on earth, researchers use magnetic fields to insulate hot plasma from the walls of the chamber to maintain the reaction and prevent damage to interior surfaces.
Research on the Alcator C-Mod experiment at MIT has made an unexpected connection between two seemingly unrelated but important phenomena observed in tokamak plasmas: spontaneous plasma rotation and the global energy confinement of the plasma.
A key challenge in producing fusion energy is confining the plasma long enough for the ionized hydrogen to fuse and produce net power.
A fusion reactor operates best when the hot plasma inside it consists only of fusion fuel (hydrogen's heavy isotopes, deuterium and tritium), much as a car runs best with a clean engine.
Research carried out at MIT's Alcator C-Mod fusion reactor may have brought the promise of fusion as a future power source a bit closer to reality, though scientists caution that a practical fusion powerplant is still decades away.
For about six months of the year, bursts of plasma swirl around a donut-shaped tube in a special reactor, helping scientists learn more about a potential future energy source: nuclear fusion.
MIT and Columbia University students and researchers have begun operation of a novel experiment that confines high-temperature ionized gas, called plasma, using the strong magnetic fields from a half-ton superconducting ring inside a huge vessel reminiscent of a spaceship.
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