China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new record in the latest experiment where it ran at a temperature of 120 million degrees celsius for 101 seconds, according to Xinhua news report.
Scientists working on the ‘artificial sun’ also achieved a peak temperature of 160 million degrees celsius, more than ten times hotter than the sun, for 20 seconds.
The Tokamak device, located at the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei, has been designed to reproduce the nuclear fusion process, which is a process the Sun and stars go through.
This experiment is a key milestone towards the country’s goal of unlocking a powerful green energy source as ‘limitless clean power’.
Li Miao, director of the physics department of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, told the Global Times:
The breakthrough is significant progress, and the ultimate goal should be keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time.
The Chinese ‘artificial sun’ experiment is part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) facility, a global science project, which is set to be the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor when it becomes operational in 2035.
ITER is a joint project between as many as 35 countries, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US. One of its challenges and goals is to garner nuclear fusion and achieving a plasma temperature above 100 million C.