The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), a superconducting fusion device also known as the Korean artificial sun, has just set a new world record by maintaining an extremely high temperature plasma for 20 seconds with an ion temperature over 100° C. This accomplishment was made possible by researchers at the KSTAR Research Center, Seoul National University (SNU) and Columbia University. Read more for a video and additional information.
To recreate fusion reactions that happen in the Sun, on Earth, hydrogen isotopes must be placed inside a fusion device like KSTAR to create a plasma state where ions and electrons are separated. The ions must then be heated and maintained at high temperatures. In the past, other fusion devices have managed to briefly heat plasma at temperatures of 100 million degrees or higher, but none of them broke the barrier of maintaining it for 10 seconds or longer.
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The technologies required for long operations of 100 million- plasma are the key to the realization of fusion energy, and the KSTAR’s success in maintaining the high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds will be an important turning point in the race for securing the technologies for the long high-performance plasma operation, a critical component of a commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future,” said Si-Woo Yoon, Director of the KSTAR Research Center at the KFE.