Watch: video of a stable plasma torus

Caltech posted video of a stable plasma torus, created by engineers using water and a dielectric plate: "lightning in a bottle, but without the bottle."

In addition, engineers working with the plasma noticed that their cell phones encountered high levels of radio frequency noise—static—while they were in the same room as the experiment. It turns out that the plasma ring emits distinct radio frequencies. "That's never been seen before. We think it's because of the piezo properties of the materials that we used in our experiments," Pereira says, referring to the materials' ability to be electrically polarized through mechanical stress—in this case, the flowing of water.

They've got no idea what it might be useful for, but have already filed a patent on the method for genereating the torus. Commercial proposal: a pretty random number generator to replace the lava lamps in Cloudflare's HQ. Read the rest

Fun with plasma vortex force fields

YouTuber Proto G shot these cool experiments with plasma vortex force fields. Scientists are looking into large-scale practical applications of the force field generated in this manner: Read the rest

Inside a nuclear fusion research lab

In downtown Cambridge, Mass., there's a research laboratory where scientists create plasma — the superheated, energy-dense gases that make up the Sun — and then try to manipulate that matter in ways that could, someday, be useful to the human race. Last week, the folks at The Physics Central Buzz Blog went inside this facility. Follow along on their virtual tour of a plasma physics lab. Read the rest