National Ignition Facility Creates Record Amount of Fusion Energy
Scientist at National Ignition Facility, U.S, has created more energy than what they put into the fuel, it is the first time in 50 years of research, scientist could not able to achieve that before.
Fusion is the reaction that powers the stars, including our own Sun, and if one could create the same process that energize the core of the star, here in Earth, that will lead to be a source of abundant, cheap and green energy. Still these researches are in miniature level and it is hard to predict when fusion power will be common or even viable power source.
Scientist outside NIF believe that these result will solve some important science problems and physicist Steven Rose who studies plasma physics at the Imperial College London calls this “a very significant achievement”.
The NIF scientists saw evidence that a process called bootstrapping occurred during their trial runs. During bootstrapping, the fusion reaction creates alpha particles that drive up the temperature of the reaction, which creates more alpha particles, and so on. Scientists consider bootstrapping necessary for NIF to get more energy out of fusion than it puts in through its lasers.
The National Ignition Facility, located in northern California, has a composite laser made of 192 lasers. NIF scientists aim the laser at a cylindrical container called a hohlraum that’s just a few millimeters in length. Inside the hohlraum is a spherical capsule. And coated on the inside of the capsule is a microns-thick ice layer of deuterium and tritium, which are isotopes, or alternate chemical forms, of hydrogen. Deuterium and tritium are the fuels of fusion.
When the NIF laser fires, it compresses the spherical capsule by a factor of 35. That drives the deuterium and tritium together to high densities to trigger fusion.
Source: Popular Science