Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have achieved a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion energy by using the world’s largest laser to create fusion ignition. Nuclear fusion as an energy source has gone from being a far-off dream to a reality. The team now faces the challenge of repeating the experiment and improving on it.
Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have duplicated a nuclear fusion breakthrough after several months of near-misses. The lab achieved a controlled reaction last year that produced more energy than it took to produce. The recent tests used the world’s most powerful laser to fire at a diamond capsule filled with hydrogen to trigger the reaction. While nuclear fusion offers carbon-free energy without long-lasting waste, it has been difficult for scientists to master in a controlled setting. The process used by the Livermore lab, known as inertial confinement, is one of two approaches being explored. The other involves high-powered magnets. Steadily running either approach as a power plant presents significant challenges.