Huge lasers make conditions at the cusp of ignition for nuclear fusion

This artist?s rendering shows a NIF target pellet inside a hohlraum capsule with laser beams entering through openings on either end. The beams compress and heat the target to the necessary conditions for nuclear fusion to occur. Ignition experiments on NIF are the result of more than 50 years of inertial confinement fusion research and development, opening the door to exploration of previously inaccessible physical regimes

Illustration of a capsule being compressed by lasers at the US National Ignition Facility

NIF

A colossal laser system has created some of the most extreme conditions on Earth, bringing us one step closer to useful nuclear fusion power that would produce no hazardous waste. Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California have been attempting to jump-start nuclear fusion in the laboratory for decades, and now they are closer than ever.

NIF works by focusing 192 of the world’s highest-energy lasers into a single …

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