A major issue with operating ring-shaped fusion facilities known as tokamaks is keeping the plasma that fuels fusion reactions free of impurities that could reduce the efficiency of the reactions. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that sprinkling a type of powder into the plasma could aid in harnessing the ultra-hot gas within a tokamak facility to produce heat to create electricity without producing greenhouse gases or long-term radioactive waste.
Fusion, the power that drives the sun and stars, combines light elements in the form of plasma—the hot, charged state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei—that generates massive amounts of energy. Scientists are seeking to replicate fusion on Earth for a virtually inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity.
"The main goal of the experiment was to see if we could lay down a layer of boron using a powder injector," said PPPL physicist Robert Lunsford, lead author of the paper reporting the results in Nuclear Fusion. "So far, the experiment appears to have been successful."To read more, click here.