Hiroshi AKATSUKA, Dr. Eng.

We are studying fundamental physics/chemistry of plasma science and engineering, and those of molten and high-temperature salt chemistry, i.e., ions in a liquid phase.

Concerning plasma science, we are frequently asked whether we are studying physics or engineering relevant to thermonuclear fusion, because we belong to Research Laboratory for Nuclear Reactors. But this is not the case.

We consider that we still need fundamental study of plasma physics and chemistry to accomplish power generation by thermonuclear fusion. We would like to remain in a phase of fundamental study, particularly of atomic and molecular processes in plasmas. We consider that we should study fundamentals of cold plasmas for various applications. Therefore, recently, we often present our research progress in society of electric engineering like IEEJ (The Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan), JSAP (The Japan Society of Applied Physics) or IEEE, in addition to JSPF (The Japan Society of Plasma Science and Nuclear Fusion Research) or JPS (The Physical Society of Japan).

There still remain so many unresolved issues in the field of low-temperature plasmas. We are interested in development of passive spectroscopic measurement of molecular gas discharge species, like nitrogen or oxygen as atmospheric species, as well as hydrogen as fuel for thermonuclear fusion reactor. O.K., you can use lasers or many sophisticated tools for innovative diagnostics. But, quite frequently, such systems become too expensive for general engineers to apply, and require great skill to extract full specification. Rather, we consider that we had better apply simple experimental methods. Of course, we need due consideration to interpret the experimentally observed data like V-I characteristics of probes or spectra of various molecular gas-mixture discharges. Then, we must return to basics of physics or chemistry. So, why don't we study fundamentals of low-temerature plasmas, quite frequently in a state of non-equilibrium? In a rarefied phase, they also show quite interesting characteristics as fluid, which is very difficult to analyze and remains as challenging problem.

As for the fudamentals of molten salt chemistry, ions in a liquid phase or its local structures, my colleague, Prof. Matsuura, will comment something someday, so I refrain from making comment here. But I suppose that he will also claim that the fundamentals should be studied in Japanese Universities.

We hope that many researchers will become interested in these fundamental studies of gPLASMAS and IONSh.

April 28, 2012, at Tokyo