Science News Share Blog Cite Print Email BookmarkExperiments Meet Requirements for Fusion Ignition; New Physics Effect Achieves Symmetrical Target Compression:
ScienceDaily (Jan. 29, 2010) — The first experiments at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) have demonstrated a unique physics effect that bodes well for NIF's success in generating a self-sustaining nuclear fusion reaction.
In inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments on NIF, the energy of 192 powerful laser beams is fired into a pencil-eraser-sized cylinder called a hohlraum, which contains a tiny spherical target filled with deuterium and tritium, two isotopes of hydrogen. Rocket-like compression of the fuel capsule forces the hydrogen nuclei to combine, or fuse, releasing many times more energy than the laser energy that was required to spark the reaction. Fusion energy is what powers the sun and stars.
As recommended during the campaign, Senator McCain should have promoted Fusion research in his energy policy. The public would have seen him as a visionary.