Physicists Crack Fusion Mystery - Technology Review: One reason it's taking decades to develop fusion reactors that can generate electricity is that physicists don't completely understand what's going on in the high-temperature plasma inside a reactor. Under certain conditions, the plasma—which is where fusion reactions take place—disappears in under a millisecond.
A new theory developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) explains what happens just before the plasma disappears...
According to the researchers' theory, islands develop within the plasma that cool off and cause the plasma to disappear. These islands—which are easily identified—could be selectively heated with microwaves, the researchers think, which could keep the plasma stable.
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