The plasma is confined by means of a toroidal configuration of magnetic fields. The configuration used, on which is based also the international project ITER Tokamak is called. However, there are also alternative configurations. One of these is the one called Reversed Field Pinch (RFP).
The greatest experiment in the world for the study of this type of configuration, called RFX-mod, is located in Padua and is managed by Consorzio RFX, with the participation of CNR, ENEA, University of Padova, INFN and Steel Venetian. The experiment provided the first experimental observation of a particular state plasma RFP, said Single Helical Axis, Shax. This state corresponds to the spontaneous formation of a helical structure in the magnetic field that confines the plasma. The observation was made possible thanks to the integration of magnetic field measurements made outside of the plasma, and measures the temperature of the plasma. In particular, the temperature measured along a diameter of the chamber within which the plasma is formed showing the occurrence of a central area more hot, reaching temperatures of the order of ten million degrees. The hot region is enclosed by a layer of plasma with excellent thermal insulation properties.
The work has opened new perspectives for the use of the configuration RFP as a basis for the construction of a fusion reactor, in that it shows that the increase in the heat content of the plasma is associated with a transition to a condition that is characterized by a reduced level magnetic chaos.
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