Finally, a Fusion Reaction has produced more energy than the fuel can absorb.


In the hunt for fusion energy, a key milestone has been attained.

A fusion reaction has produced a record 1.3 megajoule energy output, surpassing the energy absorbed by the fuel that triggered it for the first time.

Despite the fact that there's still a long way to go, the result is a considerable improvement over past yields: eight times higher than trials conducted just a few months ago and 25 times higher than experiments completed in 2018. It's a tremendous accomplishment.

Physicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility will submit a paper for peer review.

This achievement marks a watershed moment in inertial confinement fusion research, ushering in a completely new era of discovery and advancement for our essential national security tasks. It's also a testament to this team's brilliance, dedication, and grit, as well as the many other researchers in this field who have doggedly pursued this aim over the years, according to Kim Budil, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

For me, it exemplifies one of the national labs' most essential roles: our unwavering dedication to confronting the world’s biggest and most critical scientific grand issues and finding solutions where others might be deterred by the barriers.

Inertial confinement fusion entails the creation of a miniature star. It all starts with a fuel capsule made up of deuterium and tritium, two heavier hydrogen isotopes. This fuel capsule is housed in a hohlraum, a hollow gold chamber roughly the size of a pencil eraser.

The hohlraum is then bombarded with 192 high-powered laser beams, which are transformed into X-rays. These X-rays implode the fuel capsule, heating and compressing it to temperatures and pressures comparable to those found in the heart of a star – temperatures in excess of 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) and pressures greater than 100 billion Earth atmospheres – reducing it to a tiny blob of plasma.

Deuterium and tritium in the fuel capsule fusion into heavier elements in the same way as hydrogen fuses into heavier elements in the heart of a main-sequence star. The entire procedure takes only a few billionths of a second. The goal is to achieve ignition, which occurs when the fusion process generates more energy than the entire energy input.

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