Plasma inside a tokamak (nuclear fusion reactor) imaged at 100,000 frames per second, decomposed into raw, fluctuating and background light!


Plasma inside a tokamak (nuclear fusion reactor) imaged at 100,000 frames per second, decomposed into raw, fluctuating and background light!


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About the Author: livescience

6 Comments

  1. This is data direct from the [MAST](http://www.ccfe.ac.uk/MAST.aspx) experiment at [Culham Centre for Fusion Energy](http://www.ccfe.ac.uk/index.aspx) that I work on, from experiments conducted in 2013. The entire movie lasts 310 microseconds!

     

    A few details for those interested in the physics here:

    The light you are seeing is Balmer-Alpha emission. This is the same thing that solar astronomers often use to image the surface of the sun (see for example [here](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-alpha)). The really interesting feature of these movies are the wispy, filamentary structures you can see around the edge of the plasma (highlighted in the central frame). They look almost reminiscent of flares on the sun, though they are nowhere near as violent. They are between 10,000 and 100,000K in temperature and are a primary mechanism by which heat is deposited onto the walls of the machine. They move with speeds around 1000m/s and can exist for around 100 microseconds before the dissipate away.

    Cool stuff! Though not literally……

    Edit: I’m happy to answer (or try to) any questions about the science here.

    Edit 2: Thanks for the Gold kind person!

  2. As a designer of various high pressure fluid systems, I was always curious about what different systems compose a reactor like this. Is the German one that I’ve seen images of similar in concept?

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/12/06/10/3B1827BC00000578-0-The_hydrogen_was_heated_in_the_doughnut_shaped_Wendelstein_7_X_m-a-51_1481019556609.jpg

    Can you recommend a source or text that overviews reactor construction on a pretty basic level? I’d imagine this machine is at a cool confluence of pneumatic, thermal, electromagnetic, etc systems.

  3. Awesome – what’s the temperature directly outside the field and how quickly does the temp drop off the further you move away from it. Compulsory question – what would happen if you stuck your finger in it? Would it disintegrate? Would the field collapse? If you shot a bullet at it would it pass through or would it form a heat shield like Apocalypse uses in the last X-Men movie? Asking cause I’m sure my kids will ask me. Also I want to know (just a little bit)…

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