Fusion instabilities lessened by unexpected effect

January 9, 2014 6:36 PM

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A surprising effect created by a 19th century device called a Helmholz coil offers clues about how to achieve controlled nuclear fusion at Sandia National Laboratories' powerful Z machine.

A Helmholz coil produces a magnetic field when electrified. In recent experiments, two Helmholz coils, installed to provide a secondary magnetic field to Z's huge one, unexpectedly altered and slowed the growth of the magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities, an unavoidable, game-ending plasma distorti...

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