Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
At the cutting edge of theoretical physics, it was common to throw a particle into an unpredicted chaotic system.
Then, the system could be observed indirectly by the motion of the particle.
In fact, Lu Zhous experiment proposal idea came from his earlier work at CERN.
The whole system of plasma could be treated like a pool table where playing a shot could tell you where the balls were.
As for the particle that would play the role of the white ball, there wasnt a better option than helium-3.
First of all, its atomic diameter was small. It consisted of two protons and one neutron, which was close to the atomic mass of helium-2, and the nuclear structure was stabler than helium-2! Not only could it avoid indistinguishable multi-atomic collisions, but it could also pass through plasma easier.
In order to reach the temperature at which the fusion reaction occurred between helium-3 and deuterium, a temperature a hundred times of the magnetic field would be required.
Therefore, there was no better option than helium-3!
Due to a large number of particles in the plasma system, the effect of the helium 3 atom on the entire system was negligible. After all, throwing one atom into the system was much better than inserting an atom probe!
The helium-3 atom passed through the plasma and collided with the particles in the system. The electromagnetic waves generated in the collision would act as sounds, which could be heard by the observation device. Using this data, the macro and microscopic parameters of the plasma system could be analyzed.
After that, the helium-3 atom would collide with the target material and the impact data would also be recorded.
As long as the helium-3 atom collided with the plasma system, and the electromagnetic wave data generated by the collision and the impact data on the target material could be collected, Lu Zhou was confident that he could indirectly analyze the system using mathematical methods.
This could be put into a simple analogy.
If someone were measuring the refractive index of water, studying the whole water system itself would be too complicated. However, studying one beam of light injected into the water and observing the change in the angle would be much simpler.
Lu Zhous experiment consisted of injecting the helium-3 particle into the plasma system!
We only need to set up a large palm-shaped target material on the first wall of the stellarator to capture the helium-3 particle emitted from the atomic gun which can be generated by the collision of helium-3 with tritium atoms in the emission cycle. The electromagnetic wave signal and the data of the impact angular momentum when the final helium-3 hits the target can be recorded. Then, we can indirectly analyze the state of plasma under high-temperature pressure!
Im not saying that it cant be done, Professor Lazerson looked at Lu Zhou and said, but are you sure that you can process the data? If we launch N particles, then there are N variables that would be involved! We also have to consider the disturbance of the magnetic field on the plasma
With enough variables, even a supercomputer wouldnt be able to calculate the model.
However, Lu Zhou wasnt shocked by Lazersons words.
Lu Zhou was confident, and he said, I have 90% certainty that this will work.
Although building a mathematical model sounded tedious, it was nothing a supercomputer couldnt solve.
Lu Zhou believed in his ability to build theoretical models.
Professor Lazerson was slightly hesitant, and he couldnt make a decision.
In theory, the idea should work. However, the premise was that Lu Zhou could complete his theoretical model and that the helium-3 atom would produce electromagnetic waves.
Then, they would have to analyze the collected data successfully.
Data that couldnt be analyzed was no better than random noise.
Give me a reason to trust you.
Is the Goldbachs conjecture enough?
Professor Lazerson said, Not enough! That only shows that youre an expert in number theory, it means nothing to me!
Then what about the Theoretical Model of the Electrochemical Interface Structure? Lu Zhou said, I know youll say that it only means Im an expert in theoretical chemistry and computational chemistry, not an expert in plasma, right?
Professor Lazerson didnt say anything.
Lu Zhou continued, But I want to tell you that all of my research is based on data. Processing data, analyzing data Ive processed much more data than this experiment will produce!
Professor Lazerson was speechless, and he went into deep thought.
Lu Zhou saw that he wasnt speaking so he continued, Believe me! It sounds hard, but it isnt impossible! We only have to use an atom probe to insert the helium-3 into the plasma.
If we succeed
Lu Zhou looked at him and said, Then it would undoubtedly be an invention worthy of a Nobel Prize.
The Nobel Prize wasnt only a reward for theoretical discoveries, it would also award major inventions that revolutionized the world.
For example, in 2017 October, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scholars who invented the cryo-electron microscope.
As per what Old Qiu said, if someone could establish a method to observe the parameters of a high-temperature plasma system, the effect on the physics industry would be huge.
This would also undoubtedly push forward the controllable nuclear fusion project!
Professor Lazerson took off his glasses and wiped his glasses with a handkerchief.
He became more and more excited.
However, he wasnt sure.
Lu Zhou looked at his watch; ten minutes had passed.
Lu Zhou was about to give up and find someone else to cooperate, but suddenly Professor Lazerson put on his glasses.
He was no longer hesitant toward Lu Zhou.
He was excited!
This sounds interesting!
Lu Zhou sighed in relief and smiled as he reached out with his right hand.
Im happy to hear that.
Finally, someone didnt tell him that the idea is unrealistic.
Convincing Professor Lazerson saved Lu Zhou a lot of trouble.
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory was a world-class laboratory. They also cooperated with nuclear fusion research institutes around the world and had a tremendous amount of resources and talent.
They were one of the only research institutes to have this quality.
If Professor Lazerson was still unwilling, Lu Zhou would have to write a letter to the Max Planck Institute and consult the scholars at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.
As for building a laboratory himself with the same capabilities of the PPPL
It would cost a lot more than a few hundred million.
Lu Zhou reached a cooperative agreement with Professor Lazerson. He consulted other experts on this matter and decided to name this technology as Helium-3 atom probe.
The project team name was only three letters.
Over the next few days, Lu Zhou basically went back and forth between the Institute for Advanced Study and the Plasma Physics Laboratory. He was either reading the literature on plasma research or working with Professor Lazerson on He3. He also sat with plasma physics experts and engineers of the project team to exchange ideas on the experiment design.
Even though Lu Zhou finished his theoretical research, he was still busy.
While Lu Zhou was working on the He3 project, his thesis was published in Annual Mathematics.
His thesis on partial differential equations was finally available to the public.
Lu Zhou didnt pay attention to the mathematics communitys reaction to his thesis.
In his opinion, he didnt produce any particularly outstanding research result. It was only reinforcement to the foundation laid by predecessors.
However, fate was sometimes wonderful.
Lu Zhou didnt expect things to go in the opposite direction.
The stone he threw into the pond of mathematics didnt sink. Instead, it floated to the top