Science in the spotlight
In this section you can find articles that delve deeper into the science and technology of fusion research and the work we are doing at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.
How to reach 200 million degrees
When operating a fusion experiment JET may be the hottest place in the universe, but can examining the workings of some everyday items here on earth help understand the challenges and complexities of heating the plasma to extreme temperatures?
In 2015, with its upgrade completed inside and out, the new MAST machine will look and perform significantly differently.
Inside out: how the cameras roll on JET
The video camera is a ubiquitous tool of modern life. But what role does it play in studying the inside of a large fusion experiment? Every time a plasma is created inside JET, it is filmed by many different cameras and relayed to the control room. Filming of the pulses in normal visible light is made by an ‘off the shelf' video camera – the kind your favourite technology store would sell for around £500, but with £100,000 of bespoke wide angle specialist optical equipment.
Taming the ELMs
It's well known that fusion research copies the power of the Sun – but the connections don't end there. Eruptions at the edge of the tokamak's plasma are remarkably similar to solar flares, and can be just as harmful to anything that gets in their way. A team of CCFE physicists is studying these phenomena, known as ELMs, and how to stop them from damaging fusion machines.
Measuring the plasma – MAST diagnostics
In the UK fusion experiment MAST, ‘mini-stars' or plasmas of over 15 million degrees Celsius are regularly created. For fusion research to reach its goal of commercial electricity generation, scientists need to be able to study what is happening inside the plasma. Measurements of plasma properties such as temperature, density and plasma behaviour such as stability cannot be taken using conventional methods. Developing devices which will measure these properties involves designing complex and innovative diagnostic instruments, often achieved by the sharing of global expertise through long term collaborations with other fusion laboratories and university departments.
JET's ITER-Like Wall
The installation of thousands of new tiles on the inside of the JET vessel (the ‘ITER-Like Wall') heralds a new experimental campaign on the world's largest fusion machine, which is hosted at CCFE. As scientists arrive from all over Europe eager to see how the machine will perform, here is an insight into what's behind the wall.
- Research at CCFE
- Fusion in Europe
- Spherical tokamaks
- Theory and modelling
- Technology and materials
- Materials Research Laboratory
- Research collaborations
- Research policy statement
- Researcher pages
- Science in the spotlight