Fusion ignition

Fusion ignition

Fusion ignition is the point at which a nuclear fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining. Prior to fusion ignition, the reaction needs constant input energy to continue.[1] In nature, stars are born by hydrogen gas being compressed and heated to the point of fusion ignition, and are then sustained by the heat given off during the fusion process. Scientists have been working to reach the point of fusion ignition in the laboratory in order to create a self-sustaining reaction to be used as a practical energy source.[2]

Contents

  • Current research 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Current research

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has its 1.8 MJ laser system running at full power. This laser system is designed to compress and heat a mixture of deuterium and tritium, which are both isotopes of hydrogen in order to compress the isotopes to a fraction of their original size, and fuse them into helium atoms (releasing neutrons in the process).[3]

In January 2012, National Ignition Facility Director Mike Dunne predicted in a Photonics West 2012 plenary talk that ignition would be achieved at NIF by October 2012.[4]

Experts believe that achieving fusion ignition is the first step towards the potentially limitless energy source that is nuclear fusion.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ Chandler, David L. "New project aims for fusion ignition". MIT News. MIT. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "The National Ignition Facility: Ushering in a New Age for Science". Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Retrieved 26 February 2012. 
  3. ^ National Research Council (U.S.). Plasma Committee. Plasma science: advancing knowledge in the national interest. The National Academic Press. p. 24.  
  4. ^ http://optics.org/news/3/1/37
  5. ^ National Research Council (U.S.). Plasma Committee. Plasma science: advancing knowledge in the national interest. The National Academic Press.  

External links

  • National Ignition Facility
  • Laser Megajoule (In French)