Scientists devise Plasma Launcher: the "Holy Grail" of Physics

This week a group of scientists from the University of Missouri have decided it's time to make public their work on creating and controlling plasma. The system that they're making public has, they say, the potential to transform the way America – and the rest of the world, for that matter – store and create energy. The team has developed a way to make plasma create its own self-containing self-magnetic field, effectively allowing it to launch into open air.

Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri's College of Engineering Randy Curry spoke up about the system this week. He and his team made clear their successful creation of a device able to launch a ring of plasma distances of up to two feet. Their creation, it seems, has them excited enough to make some rather bold claims.

"Launching plasma in open air is the 'Holy Grail' in the field of physics. Creating plasma in a vacuum tube surrounded by powerful electromagnets is no big deal; dozens of labs can do that. Our innovation allows the plasma to hold itself together while it travels through regular air without any need for containment." – Curry

The fourth state of matter – not liquid, gas, or solid – is plasma. Lightening and fire are plasma, and as you might recall, the ability to summon fire was a rather important turning point in the history of humanity. The device that University of Missouri scientists have created can launch self-contained plasma.

In the first iteration of this reportedly completely functional plasma-launching device, Curry and his team have used parts and technology that's by no means optimized for size. Part of their continued work will be to create a reasonably sized device – this being possible in three to five years, Curry suggests.

Curry has also been vocal about the fact that without continued funding, the University of Missouri's Center for Physical & Power Electronics will be unable to continue development. So all you large cash sum-holding lovers of science: make with the push!

[via University of Missouri]