"China's "artificial sun" has for the first time achieved a plasma central electron temperature of 100 million C, marking a key step in China's future fusion reactor experiment", said the research team.
Now, researchers at China's Hefei Institutes of Physical Sciences have apparently developed an Earth-based Sun simulator capable of producing a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius.
The news comes after China shocked the science community last month with plans to launch an "artificial moon" bright enough to replace city streetlights by 2020.
But to do so, companies need to find a way to harvest energy from a plasma held at millions of degrees Celsius - something that has defied researchers for decades. Unlike nuclear power plants that split uranium atoms through fission, fusion reactors won't produce radioactive byproducts. Scientists at Google and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are now working on their own nuclear fusion projects as well.
The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in Hefei, East China's Anhui province, has been dubbed as artificial sun since it replicates the energy-generating process of the sun.
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The high temperatures inside a fusion reactor tear electrons away from their atoms and form a charged plasma of hydrogen ions.
As EAST has a similar design to ITER but on a far smaller scale, it is likely to be an important testing device during the development of ITER, according to China's Institute of Plasma Physics.
The EAST that pulled off the 100 million Celsius feat stands at 11 metres tall, has a diameter of 8 metres and weighs about 360 tonnes.
In theory, fusion reactors would produce energy by fusing hydrogen atoms into helium. Nuclear fusion programmes like EAST are working to reach that state on Earth and harvest the energy produced, potentially providing an unlimited amount of clean energy.
The team says that it was able to achieve fully non-inductive steady-state scenario with high confinement, high density, and high energy confinement enhanced factor during test operations.