Like rapidly flowing gases and liquids, magnetically confined plasmas in tokamaks and related fusion devices exhibit a high degree of turbulence, which can generally destroy the optimal conditions for producing fusion energy. In a deeply encouraging new result, scientists have experimentally confirmed that turbulence can actually limit its own ability to wreak havoc.
Theoretical picture of self-generated turbulence flows in a tokamak cross section
Computer simulations of turbulence in the DIII-D tokamak agree with recent DIII-D experiments. Color contours illustrate the highly elongated structure of turbulence in the electron density
Researchers at the DIII-D tokamak at General Atomics have discovered that turbulence generates its own flows that act as a self-regulating mechanism. These flows, which are predicted theoretically and have been observed in computer simulations, create a "shearing" or tearing action that destroys turbulent eddies, as indicated by the figure. Such flows are like the large-scale zonal jets and patterns seen in the atmospheres of Jupiter and other large planets.
These turbulent flows have been clearly observed in recent experiments at DIII-D by using a special imaging system. The imaging measurements are obtained at a rate of one million frames per second and have a spatial resolution of about 1 cm. Observing and identifying these unique turbulence flows experimentally, and comparing their characteristics with theory, is helping to advance researchers understanding of this complex and crucial phenomena taking place in high temperature fusion plasmas.
David Harris | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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