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One Step Closer to Nuclear Fusion Ignition as NIF Successfully Derives 1.3MJ of Energy

published: 2021-09-21 9:30

There has been another new breakthrough in the development of nuclear fusion. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California has recently derived 1.3MJ of energy, and is marching one step closer to nuclear fusion ignition, which opens up new hope to a new possible clean energy.

As reported, the NIF experiment team directed approximately 192 high energy laser beams onto a hydrogen fuel pellet (about the size of the diameter of a hair) that contains hydrogen isotope deuterium and tritium, before heating it to 100 million C° to trigger nuclear fusion.

The experiment derived 1.3MJ of energy at the end, which is 8 times the amount NIF had achieved during spring this year, and 25 times more than the result in 2018. NIF has been continuously refining its equipment, including the elevation of laser precision and adjustment on target materials, in order to increase the energy from the coupling of implosion and compression.

Despite an exceedingly short time of energy output at merely 100 trillionths of a second, it is considered a significant breakthrough, and the team believes that it is now another step closer to nuclear fusion ignition.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that is in charge of the operation of NIF commented that this result denotes a historical progress in the study of inertial confinement fusion, and showcases one of the most important functions of national laboratories, which is a diligent attitude towards the most essential scientific challenges.

Partial scientists regard nuclear fusion as the next potential energy for the future as it produces insignificant amount of waste and does not emit greenhouse gas, and a successful development will be able to provide an infinite stream of clean energy. However, it will take more than an overnight success to control this technology, and the Imperial College London also pointed out that although this experiment has taken a step closer to nuclear fusion ignition, a conversion into a renewable energy remains a prolonged process since there are still many major challenges to be resolved.

 (Cover photo source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

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