The project was carried out by former and current MIT students, including nine in total. With their help, it was possible to use the ICF (inertial fusion) method, which is based on the compression and heating of disks filled with thermonuclear fuel.
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More specifically, team members used 192 laser beams to target the interior of a small gold cylinder surrounding a spherical capsule filled with a mixture of deuterium and tritium fuel. This approach has been used in the past, but in this case the implosion achieved a record fusion efficiency of 1.37 megajoules. We can read about the final results of the experiment in the pages physical review messages.
Nuclear fusion provides energy for stars like the sun
Students are responsible for implementing and using diagnostics to obtain data relevant to the ICF program at NIF. Being in charge of making the diagnosis at the NIF allowed them to actively participate in the scientific dialogue, and thus have direct contact with the latest science. Johan Feringi, High Energy Physics
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What was the end result? The first controlled ignition of nuclear fusion occurred! For this to happen, the internal heating force of the fusion must be high enough to balance the processes underlying the cooling of the plasma. In the case of the ICF, ignition is a state in which the thermonuclear plasma can initiate the so-called propagation of fuel combustion in the dense and cold surrounding fuel which gives the possibility of obtaining high profits in the field of fusion energy production.
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