Nuclear Fusion One Step Closer

China broke the record by keeping the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) by achieving plasma temperature at 120 million Celsius for 101 seconds and 160 million Celsius for 20 seconds, a major step toward the test run of the fusion reactor.

The Tokamak devise is located at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is designed to replicate the nuclear fusion process that occurs naturally in the sun and stars to provide almost infinite clean energy through controlled nuclear fusion, which is often dubbed the “artificial sun.” The achievement broke a previous record of maintaining the plasma temperature at 100 million C for 100 seconds. According to Li Miao, director of the physics department of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, it is a milestone in reaching the goal of keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time.

The breakthrough is significant progress, and the ultimate goal should be keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time,” Li told the Global Times, adding that the next milestone might be to maintain the stability for a week or more.

Achieving a plasma temperature above 100 million C is one of the key challenges to harness the nuclear fusion. At the end of 2020, South Korea reached 100 million C for 20 seconds. The temperature at the core of the sun is widely believed to be 15 million C, meaning that the plasma at the device’s core will be seven times hotter than that of the sun.
The energy generated from nuclear fusion is the most reliable and clean energy, Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Friday, adding that if the technology can be applied commercially, it will have huge economic benefits. However, Lin cautioned that as the technology is still in the experimental stage, it still need at least 30 years for the technology to come out of the lab. “It’s more like a future technology that’s critical for China’s green development push.”


Smart Tumor-Targeting DNA NanoRobots

Chinese researchers have developed biodegradable tumor-targeting nanoparticles, which provides a promising therapy for tumor treatment, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

A joint research team with scientists from the CAS developed the tumor-targeting nanoparticles as a combination of tumor-infarction therapy and chemotherapy, said the CAS.

It has long been a challenge for researchers to find a safe and effective therapy for vascular thrombosis. Drugs that induce thrombosis in the tumor vasculature have not resulted in long-term tumor eradication.

The CAS research team developed the nanoparticle, a type of DNA nanorobot that can precisely send the thrombin to the tumor-vessel walls and the tumor stroma, leaving the tumor to “starve to death.”

Study results showed that the co-administration of a cytotoxic payload and a protease to elicit vascular infarction in tumors with biodegradable tumor-targeting nanoparticles represented a promising strategy for improving the therapeutic index of coagulation-based tumor therapy.

The study has been published online by the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.