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Remarkable progress in the physical parameters of net-current free plasmas has been made in the Large Helical Device (LHD) since the last Fusion Energy Conference in Chengdu, 2006 (Motojima et al 2007 Nucl. Fusion 47 S668). The beta value reached 5% and a high-beta state beyond 4.5% from the diamagnetic measurement has been maintained for longer than 100 times the energy confinement time. The density and temperature regimes have also been extended. The central density has exceeded 1 × 1021 m−3 due to the formation of an internal diffusion barrier. The ion temperature has reached 5.2 keV at the density of 1.6 × 1019 m−3, which is associated with the suppression of ion heat conduction loss. Although these parameters have been obtained in separated discharges, each fusion-reactor relevant parameter has elucidated the potential of net-current free heliotron plasmas. Diversified studies in recent LHD experiments are reviewed in this paper.