Chinese scientists discover a new economic way to achieve nuclear fusion with the help of gold
The rush to the Holy Grail of energy production has recently become even more interesting. A team of Chinese scientists claims to have discovered a convenient method of obtaining nuclear fusion which could compete with much more expensive counterparts. The group of scientists worked on a project whose mission is replicate the energetic process of the Sun, with a relatively low-cost approach. After a year of experiments, the technique proved promising. “Our goal is to achieve sustainable fusion,” said Zhang Zhe, a researcher at the Physics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In the experiments, the scientists shot powerful pulses of laser beam in a tiny pair of gold cones in an attempt to replicate the nuclear fusion process in the heart of the sun.
The cones, as small as pencil points, have narrow points that face each other and emit a hydrogen plasma. When the two streams of hot gas collide at the right time and place, and in the right way, they trigger a fusion reaction, a process that could provide an infinite and sustainable source of energy. Zhe explained that “the cones can be mass produced and loaded like bullets into a machine that will rotate and fire like a Gatling gun.”
Although the team found some problems in their experiments, scientists have been able to make significant progress. Zhe hopes, in the future, to be able to scale the investigation with more sophisticated tools and installations that “will take the game to a whole new level”.
When that happens, the team may have an rfusion eater able to rival the capabilities of the International Thermal Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France. All this at a fraction of the cost.
Three tests have been successfully conducted so far, with the fourth scheduled for next month. There are still many challenges to face, but preliminary results indicate that the theory works. Whether Zhang Zhe’s team comes out victorious in the nuclear fusion race, only time will tell.
For now the results have been published in Acta Physica Sinica.