Laser Fusion Breakthrough: A New Era of Clean Energy?
In July 2023, scientists at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California achieved a new breakthrough in laser fusion,
generating a burst of energy that was nearly twice as large as their previous record.
The experiment involved using 192 lasers to bombard a tiny pellet of hydrogen fuel.
The lasers created a powerful implosion that compressed the fuel to extreme temperatures and pressures, triggering a fusion reaction.
The reaction produced 3.88 megajoules of energy, which is equivalent to about 1.5 pounds of TNT.
The latest experiment at the National Ignition Facility was the first to produce more than 3 megajoules of energy from a laser fusion reaction
– The previous record for laser fusion energy output was 3.15 megajoules, set in December 2022.
The scientists at the National Ignition Facility are now working to increase the energy output of their laser fusion experiments even further.
They are also working to develop more efficient lasers and to design reactors that can withstand the neutron bombardment from the fusion reaction.