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Russian scientists heat plasma to 4.5 million degrees Kelvin

December 05, 2013, 16:20 UTC+3 NOVOSIBIRSK
Such a temperature indicates the possibility of a very strong neutron generator in the future, researchers say
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© ITAR-TASS/Valeriy Sharifulin

NOVOSIBIRSK, December 05, 15:53 /ITAR-TASS/. Thermonuclear plasma has been heated to a world record high electron temperature of 400 electronvolts (4.5 million Kelvin degrees) by experts at the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics at Siberia's branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Institute Deputy Director Alexander Ivanov told journalists on Thursday that the result was an important step on the way to thermonuclear power and confirmed the possibility of creating neutron plasma.

“The obtained temperature of 4.5 million Kelvin degrees is about 1.5-2 times more than ever achieved on similar devices worldwide until now,” Ivanov said.

“This is a kind of permit to the wilderness of temperature plasma. Such a temperature indicates the possibility of a very strong neutron generator in the future. No other setting worldwide is capable of it,” the scientist added.

The temperature was recorded in experiments conducted in November. Since the figure has been confirmed in other experiments, the scientists have decided to announce the achievement.

It was generated using a device called “a gas dynamic trap” with additional microwave heating of sub-thermonuclear plasma. The scientists explain that strong sources of millimetre waves - gyrotrons - generate microwave radiation delivered to plasma through a special system of waveguides and mirrors and which, interacting with plasma, heats electrons to record high temperatures.

The Budker centre is Russia’s largest academic institute. In this facility scientists study high-energy physics, particle physics, plasma physics and controlled nuclear physics, developing modern catalysts, intensive sources of synchrotron radiation and free electron lasers.

In applied research, the institute develops, produces and supplies research-intensive and hi-tech products to customers in Asia, Europe, the U.S. and Russia.

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