Laser fusion with a new record.  Scientists get to know better about thermonuclear reactions

Scientists associated with the US Department of Energy produced more than 10 quadrillion watts of fusion energy. article on the topic, Available in temper natureAnd It is suggested that this energy was only present for a split second, but that is not the most important thing in the whole case.

A major role in this achievement was played by a device called the National Ignition Facility, which is capable of carrying out a nuclear fusion reaction. This facility is located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and is designed to conduct research related to thermonuclear weapons production. However, the change occurred in 1992, when the ban on conducting underground nuclear tests came into force.

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At that time, the NIF became part of the Stockpile Supervision Program, which tests the reliability of nuclear weapons without causing an explosion. The hack we mentioned in the introduction was made possible thanks to these changes. The standard result was the result of, among other things, increased laser accuracy or the development of new diagnostic techniques.

Inside the NIF is an optical and mirror system that amplifies and splits the initial photon flux into 192 ultraviolet laser beams. It then focuses on a target with a diameter of between a few millimeters and several millimeters, hitting it with an energy of about 1.9 megajoules in less than 4 billionths of a second.

Laser fusion has been of interest to scientists for many years

This generates temperatures and pressures that are only found in stars and fusion bombs. Then the cylinder containing deuterium and tritium collapses, isotopes of hydrogen in its core heat up and fuse, producing helium nuclei, neutrons and electromagnetic radiation. Preliminary results indicate that on August 8, in such conditions, it was possible to generate 70% of energy, almost reaching ignition.

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Why conduct such experiments at all? Experimental results can provide information on the detonation of charges and show how weapons deal with radiation surges. On the other hand, there are critics who say that achievements using the National Ignition Facility may lead to the creation of unnecessary stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the United States. The local National Nuclear Safety Agency wants to develop this type of technology, rather than using the stocks already available.

Interestingly, the gain of 10 quadrillion watts of fusion power was about 700 times higher than the power of the entire US electric grid at any given time. The ultimate goal is to achieve stable nuclear fusion that produces more energy than is consumed in this long-running reaction. The first major test is scheduled for October: to see if scientists can replicate the success achieved in August.

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