Oak Ridge National Laboratory - National Center for Computational Sciences - Scientific Computing Group


Fusion energy production by neutral deuterium particle injection.

Jamison Daniel
Fusion energy production by neutral deuterium particle injection.
Description: Within the tokamak, we see field coils, the vacuum vessel, blanket modules, divertor cassettes, and equipment for heating and diagnostics. Visible is one of the high-energy neutral beam injectors that heat and drive the plasma. The fusion fuel consists of deuterium and tritium, which are isotopes of ordinary hydrogen (shown in red and green in the visualization). To produce fusion reactions, the fuel must be heated to a temperature of about one hundred million degrees - about ten times the temperature of the core of the sun. At such temperatures, the electrons of atoms are stripped from the nuclei forming as a state of matter called plasma. One method of achieving these high temperatures is by injecting beams of high-energy neutral atoms into the tokamak. An initial plasma is formed and heated by driving an electric current through the fuel gas in the tokamak chamber. When the plasma reaches a sufficient density and temperature, the injectors are turned on. Because injected atoms are electrically neutral, they are unaffected by the magnetic field and can penetrate deep into the plasma before being ionized by collisions with plasma particles. These very energetic beam ions are trapped by the magnetic field and circulate throughout the plasma, colliding with the plasma particles and transferring energy to them. As the temperature of the plasma rises, due to the beam heating, fusion reactions between the plasma deuterium and tritium begin to occur.
Visualization Credit: Jamison Daniel, Dave Pugmire, Mike Matheson, and Sean Ahern.
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Visualizations by Jamison Daniel (d65@ornl.gov - 865-576-5823), Dave Pugmire, Mike Matheson, and Sean Ahern.