By Academician Vasily GLUKHIKH, Director, Scientific Research Institute of Electrophysical Equipment named after D.V. Yefremov (NIIEFA); Anatoly MINEEV, Vitaly MURATOV, Oleg FILATOV, Candidates of Sciences (Phys. & Math.), researchers of the same Institute
Within a decade the first international experimental thermonuclear reactor is scheduled to go into operation. A major contribution to its development is being provided by researchers and engineers of St. Petersburg.
This could be startling news for an average layman to be told that we are all swimming in plasma-gas in ionized state. The proofs and manifestations of that in nature are strokes of lightning and also your own domestic lighting, in industry- welding equipment and devices for surface finishing, and in technical and medical fields- these are lasers. As a matter of fact, 90 percent of the matter of the Universe is plasma and synthesis reactions within it are the main source of energy of stars. And that means that there is no denying the fact that the world around us is a world of plasma. Having said that, we know but very little about how to "tame" plasma and put it at the service of our global and also daily needs and requirements.
Scientific research in this field has been going on since the end of WW2. A new science was born-plasma physics, and researchers have developed new methods of diagnostics of matter in what they call its extreme state. The main problem consists in heating deuterium-tritium plasma to temperatures appro-
aching 100 mln degrees and maintain it at this temperature long enough for the synthesis reaction with the release of large amounts of energy. Solving this problem will mean solving the problem of controlled thermonuclear fusion.
Research in this general field is proceeding along the two main lines: retention of plasma with the help of strong magnetic fields, and what we call inertial retention with the help of successive microexplosions of targets heated by ... Читать далее