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Light my fire: How to start up fusion devices every time

How do you start a fusion reaction, the process that lights the sun and stars, on Earth? Like lighting a match to start a fire, you first produce plasma, the state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei that ...

Laser-produced uranium plasma evolves into more complex species

When energy is added to uranium under pressure, it creates a shock wave, and even a tiny sample will be vaporized like a small explosion. By using smaller, controlled explosions, physicists can test on a microscale in a safe ...

New technique could streamline design of intricate fusion device

Stellarators, twisty machines that house fusion reactions, rely on complex magnetic coils that are challenging to design and build. Now, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory ...

Astrophysical shock phenomena reproduced in the laboratory

Vast interstellar events where clouds of charged matter hurtle into each other and spew out high-energy particles have now been reproduced in the lab with high fidelity. The work, by MIT researchers and an international team ...

Improving the magnetic bottle that controls fusion power on Earth

Scientists who use magnetic fields to bottle up and control on Earth the fusion reactions that power the sun and stars must correct any errors in the shape of the fields that contain the reactions. Such errors produce deviations ...

Scientists reproduce the dynamics behind astrophysical shocks

High-energy shock waves driven by solar flares and coronal mass ejections of plasma from the sun erupt throughout the solar system, unleashing magnetic space storms that can damage satellites, disrupt cell phone service and ...

Light may magnetise non-magnetic metals, propose physicists

Physicists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, have devised a method to turn a non-magnetic metal into a magnet using laser light.

Simulations fix the cracks in magnetic mirrors

When ring-shaped electromagnets are set up in linear arrangements, they can produce magnetic fields resembling a tube with a cone at each end—a structure that repels charged particles entering one cone back along their ...

Could vacuum physics be revealed by laser-driven microbubbles?

A vacuum is generally thought to be nothing but empty space. But in fact, a vacuum is filled with virtual particle-antiparticle pairs of electrons and positrons that are continuously created and annihilated in unimaginably ...

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