by Alexander KUKUSHKIN, Cand. Sc. (Phys. & Math.); and Valentin RANTSEV- KARTINOV, Cand. Sc. (Phys. & Math.); senior researchers, Russian Research Center "Kurchatov Institute"
Various natural phenomena share certain common, universal characteristics-the fact that makes scientists stop and ponder. Perhaps this puzzle may be solved somehow with the help of laws and regularities discovered quite recently and applying in a very wide spatial range, from molecules to galaxies.
Working on experimental data and theoretical approaches in the field of filaments (filamentary structures) formed in plasma, we studied an extensive data array accumulated in the Russian Research Center "Kurchatov Institute" for several types of high-current discharges (i.e. having high strength-of-current values). Delving into the database of experiments that one of the authors of the present article carried out back in the 1980s at the Z-pinch * setup (E-2), we discovered rectilinear filaments whose motion could be tracked from different positions almost all the way through the discharge. Here's what amazed us: unlike the regular filaments in current, these cut across the plasma column and stuck out like so many spokes. And their length-a few centimeters-was comparable to the width of the plasma's hot region, and much above it when plasma
* A setup for initiating a discharge in which a plasma column connects electrodes straight (along the Z axis) and is compressed by the magnetic field of a current flowing in it (this phenomenon is called the pinch-effect). - Ed .
Articles in this rubric reflect the opinion of the author. - Ed.
pinching (compression) was at a maximum.
One important factor making it possible to detect an amazing phenomenon like that is a method which we have developed of late and which we have called a multilevel dynamic contrasting of images. This technique is based on a computer's ability to distinguish subtle details both on ordinary and on digital p ... Read more