Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NIF Achieves Milestone

Finally, some good news out of the National Ignition Facility.

In a paper published in Nature, Hurricane and colleagues report results from experiments carried out last September and November – the former producing 14 kJ of fusion energy from a single laser shot and the latter 17 kJ. The researchers point out that since the energy delivered to the fuel is about 10 kJ, both shots generated a fuel gain. They also calculated that as much as half of the energy output from these shots originated in alpha-particle heating. This is significant because such heating is a prerequisite for ignition.

They haven't achieve ignition yet, but this is certainly a necessary step towards understanding this whole process. Now, they have the difficult and unenviable task of delivering on the promise.


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