Chapter 474: At Least A Postdoc
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Just like Lu Zhou had mentioned earlier at the internal meeting in the Institute of Computational Materials building, if they wanted to solve the difficult problem of controllable nuclear fusion, they couldnt avoid advancing in the field of superconducting materials.
However, a technical breakthrough wasnt enough, if it couldnt be applied through engineering, then even the greatest breakthrough would remain in the laboratory.
For example, the SG-1 material; it was one of the major breakthroughs in the field of superconducting materials, and it had already shown considerable prospects of real-life application.
However, whether it was China or the rest of the world, they had no experience in producing carbon-based superconducting materials at all, let alone applying it through engineering.
Therefore, not only did Lu Zhou have to overcome academic problems, but he also had to conquer problems outside of academia.
Fortunately, he could delegate problems to other people
A laboratory inside the Institute of Computational Materials.
Right now, standing in front of Lu Zhou was Cao Ganwei, the chief engineer from Baosheng Group.
Baosheng Group was a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China and was a leading company in the field of superconducting materials in China. They had cooperated with many Chinese research institutes such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences and had participated in many large-scale research projects. Cao Ganwei was the chief engineer of the company, so naturally, he was involved in many of the projects.
Their most prominent project was probably the Beijing Spectrometer III(BESIII) experiment at the Beijing Electron-Positron Collider II.
It was difficult to determine the future, but as of now, the BESIII superconducting solenoid magnet was still the largest superconducting magnet in China.
Also, this company was involved in EAST and several other tokamak superconducting magnet projects.
After consulting Academician Pan, Lu Zhou immediately decided to contact this company and send an invitation for research and development cooperation.
After Baosheng Group received the invitation for the cooperation from the Jinling Institute of Computational Materials, Baosheng Group immediately sent their chief engineer and gave this project the highest priority.
Even if Lu Zhou didnt have a Nobel Prize and didnt have his reputation in the materials science community, a billion USD national-level scientific research project was definitely considered a top-level project.
However, when Engineer Cao listened to Lu Zhous requirements, he quickly realized that things werent so simple.
You plan on using a 50T superconducting magnet on the stellarator; Im afraid this wont be easy.
Even high schoolers knew how to create a stronger electromagnetic field; one just had to increase the number of coils wrapped around the solenoid.
However, even though this was the case, it was an engineering nightmare to achieve magnetic fields stronger than 10T.
Lu Zhou said, If traditional materials would make it difficult, what if we use new materials?
Engineer Cao raised his eyebrows as he asked, Youre talking about SG-1?
Even though Engineer Cao wasnt in academia, he was still in the superconducting-magnets engineering field; he was up to date with the latest research developments in the field of materials science.
Especially after the SG-1 was showcased at the MRS conference. Even though he hadnt read the relevant thesis or attended the conference, he still heard about its magical properties.
Lu Zhou nodded and said, Thats right. I actually participated in the SG-1 research.
Engineer Cao was surprised when he heard Lu Zhou say this. However, he quickly composed himself.
He had heard from somewhere that this research result came from the Frick Chemistry Laboratory in Princeton. Since Lu Zhou was a Princeton professor, his participation in this project was nothing out of the ordinary.
Engineer Cao contemplated for a bit before he asked in a cautious manner, Is there an SG-1 sample here?
Lu Zhou: Not just the samples, but we have all kinds of experimental data. Come with me.
Lu Zhou took Cao Ganwei to another laboratory. He told Qian Zhongming, who was sitting in front of a computer, to collect various experimental data on the SG-1 material.
Engineer Cao spent some effort looking at the data and graphs on the computer screen. He then frowned and pondered for a while before finally speaking.
Honestly, this is my first time hearing about using a carbon-based superconducting material to create a superconducting track.
Lu Zhou smiled and asked, Isnt experimenting a part of science?
Thats right, but were a company. Even though the things youre talking about sound interesting, we have to think realistically, Engineer Cao said as he rubbed his chin while looking at the material resistance versus time graph and the electric current graph. After a long time, he suddenly had a flash of interest in his eyes.
He then said, Theoretically, this is feasible, but with the price of graphene right now, if you want to build a magnet as large as the BESIII project, it will probably be extremely expensive.
Lu Zhou said, The budget isnt an issue. Even if it costs billions, as long as the DEMO nuclear fusion power station project can be built, it is worth it.
The billion-dollar USD was only the first round of investment. As long as he could produce stellar in-progress results, he was confident that more people would be willing to invest.
Since the cost isnt an issue, I think it is worth trying, Engineer Cao said. He then paused for a second before he cautiously asked, Can I bring a few samples back for research?
Lu Zhou smiled as he replied, Of course you can, but you cant take the experimental data on the computers. It involves some confidential information that hasnt been released to the public, and Im afraid you can only look at it when you are here.
Engineer Cao nodded. I understand.
After the chief engineer left, Lu Zhou found Yang Xu, the director of the Institute of Computational Materials.
After New Years, I plan on going to Germany.
Yang Xu: Germany?
Mainly for the stellarator. Lu Zhou nodded and said, Since Im there, I plan on buying a set of new instruments, and itll cost around US$100 million. I need you to compile a list of necessary equipment.
He would expand the scale of the research institute after New Years; his hardware also had to be kept up to date.
A smile appeared on Yang Xus face when he heard about the purchase of new equipment. He said, Thats easy. Since were doing research on superconducting materials, lets get two transmission electron microscopes.
Even though the research institute already had one of those microscopes, having two more meant the same experiment could produce two more sets of data.
Especially for something as magical as a transmission electron microscope, it was impossible to have too many of them.
Lu Zhou agreed without even blinking. Write it down on the list.
He paused for a second before he continued, Also, I plan on expanding the number of researchers to around 200. I will let Star Sky Technology contact the headhunting company, and you will handle the talent selection.
Yang Xu nodded and said, Dont worry about that. I will hold them to the highest standards. Oh yeah, are there any requirements for the new recruits?
Lu Zhou thought for a moment before he replied.
A least a postdoc.