Nav: Home

Demonstration of alpha particle confinement capability in helical fusion plasmas

July 29, 2019

A team of fusion researchers succeeded in proving that energetic ions with energy in mega electron volt (MeV) range are superiorly confined in a plasma for the first time in helical systems. This promises the alpha particle (helium ion) confinement required for realizing fusion energy in a helical reactor.

The deuterium-tritium reaction in a high-temperature plasma will be used in fusion reactors in the future. Alpha particles with 3.5 MeV energy are generated by the fusion reaction. The alpha particles transfer their energy to the plasma, and this alpha particle heating sustains the high-temperature plasma condition required for the fusion reaction. In order to realize such a plasma, which is called a burning plasma, the energetic ions in MeV range must be superiorly confined in the plasma.

Numerical simulations predicted the favorable results of MeV ion confinement in a plasma in helical systems that have the advantage of steady-state operation in comparison with tokamak systems. However, demonstration of MeV ion confinement by experiment had not been reported. Recently, the study has greatly advanced by MeV ion confinement experiment performed in the deuterium operation of the Large Helical Device (LHD), which is owned by National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS), National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), in Japan. In deuterium plasmas, 1 MeV tritons (tritium ions) are created by deuteron-deuteron fusion reactions. The tritons have the similar behavior with alpha particles generated in a future burning plasma.

The research group led by Assistant Professor Kunihiro Ogawa and Professor Mitsutaka Isobe of NIFS has performed MeV triton confinement experiment in LHD. The tritons confined in the plasma undergo secondary reaction and emit high-energy neutrons by fusion reaction with background deuterons (deuterium ions). The research group developed the detector for selective measurement of the high-energy neutrons to evaluate the MeV ion confinement performance. The high-energy neutrons were measured for different magnetic-field configurations. When the magnetic field axis is shifted inward, the MeV ion confinement shows better performance. The result obtained by this study proves the MeV ion confinement for the first time in helical systems. This promises the alpha particle confinement required for realizing fusion energy in a helical reactor.
-end-
The research result published in Nuclear Fusion entitled "Energetic ion confinement studies using comprehensive neutron diagnostics in the Large Helical Device" was chosen as a Research Highlight in the July 2019 issue of Nature Physics.

National Institutes of Natural Sciences

Related Science Articles:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.
Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.
Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.
World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.
PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.
More Science News and Science Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 2: Every Day is Ignaz Semmelweis Day
It began with a tweet: "EVERY DAY IS IGNAZ SEMMELWEIS DAY." Carl Zimmer – tweet author, acclaimed science writer and friend of the show – tells the story of a mysterious, deadly illness that struck 19th century Vienna, and the ill-fated hero who uncovered its cure ... and gave us our best weapon (so far) against the current global pandemic. This episode was reported and produced with help from Bethel Habte and Latif Nasser. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.