Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


High in Sodium: Highly Charged Tungsten Ions May Diagnose Fusion Energy Reactors

Just as health-food manufacturers work on developing the best possible sodium substitutes for low-salt diets, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have acquired new knowledge on a promising sodium alternative of their own. Sodium-like tungsten ions could pepper—and conveniently monitor—the hot plasma soup inside fusion energy devices, potential sources of abundant, clean power.

Tungsten—having the highest melting point of any metal—will be used in some high-strength structural components in the experimental ITER fusion reactor under construction in France (see “NIST Light Source Illuminates Fusion Power Diagnostics,” NIST Tech Beat, Oct. 11, 2007.).

When ITER cooks up its hot, dense fusion plasma, it could erode trace amounts of tungsten from its structures and strip away many of its electrons in the process. When 63 of tungsten’s 74 electrons are removed, it becomes chemically analogous to sodium atoms, which have 11 electrons as well.

Ordinary sodium gas radiates bright yellow-orange light, which has proven useful for everything from mundane streetlamps to exotic atom lasers. Sodium radiates approximately 99 percent of its visible light in two shades of orange, which scientists have termed the “D” spectral lines.

Sodium-like tungsten ions emit intense light in analogous “D” spectral lines, but they are at far higher energy levels than sodium, and so are shifted out of the visible spectrum to the extreme ultraviolet. Measuring the wavelengths and relative intensities of lines in the spectrum of light released by a population of tungsten ions in the plasma can provide information about the fusion plasma conditions, such as its temperature, density and magnetic fields. Yet it has been challenging to measure light in this portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

NIST’s John Gillaspy and his colleagues have now provided the first measurement* of both “D” lines in sodium-like tungsten, confirming theoretical predictions of their energies and intensities. The NIST scientists further checked their knowledge by measuring the spectrum of light from other sodium-like ions of hafnium, tantalum and gold. The researchers used NIST’s electron beam ion trap (EBIT), which employs an electron beam to make, catch and study highly charged ions. To measure the spectra, they used an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectrometer, originally developed to study 13.5 nanometer wavelength light emitted from plasma sources for next-generation microelectronics applications, but they discovered they could push it to detect radiation as low as about 2 nanometers, where tungsten’s lower-wavelength “D” line resides. With this experimental knowledge of tungsten’s lines, researchers may now have a robust new ingredient for measuring fusion reactor conditions.

* J.D. Gillaspy, I.N. Draganic, Y. Ralchenko, J. Reader, J.N. Tan, J.M. Pomeroy and S.M. Brewer Measurement of the D-line doublet in high-Z highly charged sodiumlike ions. Physical Review A, Published online 8 July 2009. doi/10.1103/PhysRevA.80.010501.

Ben Stein | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>