China makes breakthrough in 'man-made sun' research

Updated: 2016-03-17 09:49

(People's Daily Online)

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China makes breakthrough in 'man-made sun' research

PTS experimental device discharges instantly. [File Photo]

An artificial sun experiment developed by Hefei Institute of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Science, has successfully realized UHT long pulse plasma discharge at a temperature of more than 50 million degrees.

As of January, the duration of the discharge was 102 seconds. This is the longest discharge at such a high temperature, which marks an important breakthrough in artificial sun research.

"An artificial sun can provide limitless clean energy through controlled thermonuclear fusion," said Xu Jiannan, a researcher at the China Academy of Engineering Physics.

The light and heat of the sun come from two of hydrogen's family members: deuterium and tritium. These release a huge amount of energy during the process of fusion into a helium atom. The artificial sun imitates this fusion process.

Xu congratulated CAS for its recent achievement. He also mentioned the progress made by the China Academy Of Engineering Physics (CAEP) in its artificial sun research.

According to Xu, CAEP and the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) have gradually established an independent study on inertial confinement fusion. Xu said they have also developed SG-I, SG-II and SG-Ⅲ laser driving devices as well as a PTS device. The output current of the PTS device reaches 8-10 million amps. Its rise time of an electric current pulse is less than one thousandth of a second and its instantaneous power reaches over 20 trillion watts, equivalent to two times the average global generated power.