Fusion breakthrough

A year ago, the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California attempted to create nuclear fusion.

After exhaustive research, academic believe that this moment might indeed have been the moment that ignition of a controlled fusion was created for the first time.

A yield of more than 1.3MJ was created by focusing lasers to produce a ‘hot-spot’ the diameter of a human hair, generating more than 10 quadrillion watts of fusion power for 100 trillionths of a second.

Achieving “ignition” is important. Whilst an atomic weapon can create fusion, it can hardly be called controlled, and the ‘star in a jar’ type experiments have created a moment of fusion; ignition is where, however briefly, the power from the fusion is greater than the quantity of power required to generate it.

Three new papers are now cautiously heralding this as a breakthrough moment. However, all subsequent attempts to replicate the experiment have failed to equal the success.

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