South Korea’s artificial sun, a magnetic fusion device, has set a new world record for fusion after reaching an ion temperature of over 100 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds.

The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) was able to achieve a temperature of over 6.6 times more than that of the Sun, which burns at 15 million degrees Celsius.

The South Korean “artificial sun” had attained the same temperature in 2018 also, but only for one and a half seconds. It reached the temperature in 2019 too, for eight seconds. 

No one has been able to sustain a plasma at this temperature for this period of time, making this a great achievement that was achieved on November 24, 2020. 

According to The Indian Express, 110 plasma experiments were done from August 2020 to December 10, to test what a device, Internal Transport Barrier Mode, can do. The device was crucial in achieving the record. The experiments included several methods, from techniques to inject and trying to stablise the plasma. 

Si-Woo Yoon, the director of the KSTAR Research Center, in a statement, said, “The technologies required for long operations of 100 million-degree plasma are the key to the realisation of fusion energy.”

“[T]he KSTAR’s success in maintaining the high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds will be an important turning point in the race for securing the technologies for the long high-performance plasma operation, a critical component of a commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future.”

The KSTAR aims to increase the time and work on a fusion reactor and is targeting 300 seconds mark by 2025.