China‘s ‘artificial sun’ nuclear fusion reactor has set a new world record after running at 216million degrees Fahrenheit (120million°C) for 100 seconds, according to state media.
It also achieved a peak temperature of 288million°F (160million°C) – more than ten times hotter than the sun.
Chinese scientists hope the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) will unlock a powerful green energy source in Beijing’s quest for ‘limitless clean power’.
The cutting-edge device, which was first fired up last December, broke its previous record of maintaining a plasma temperature of 180million°F (100million°C) for 100 seconds.
Its next goal could be to run at a consistent temperature for a week, according to Li Miao, director of the physics department of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen.
‘The breakthrough is significant progress, and the ultimate goal should be keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time,’ he told China’s state-run newspaper the Global Times.
The machine, China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device, uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma.
It is designed to replicate the nuclear fusion process that occurs naturally in the sun and stars to provide almost infinite clean energy.
Located in China’s eastern Anhui province and completed late last year, the reactor is often called an ‘artificial sun’ on account of the enormous heat and power it produces.
It is based at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.