A Half-Century of Progress

  • Francis F. Chen


A controlled fusion reaction requires holding together for a long enough time a plasma that is hot enough and dense enough. These critical conditions can be quantified by the triple product Tnτ, a modification of the Lawson criterion explained in Chap.5. Here, T is the temperature of the ions, the reacting species; n is the density of either the ions or the electrons, since the plasma is quasineutral; and τ (tau) is the energy confinement time, a measure of how fast (or slowly) energy must be applied to keep T constant. Over the years, over 200 tokamaks have been built, and the value of Tnτ achieved in each has been calculated. Some of these are plotted in Fig. 8.1 as a function of time. This measure of success has increased over 100,000 times in four decades, recently doubling every two years.


Triple Product Runaway Electron Poloidal Field Fusion Energy Fusion Power 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis F. Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical EngineeringUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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