Researchers hit a new milestone as they sparked a fusion reaction that momentarily sustained itself at a U.S. national lab. Using exactly 192 lasers, the reaction reached a temperature of more than three times hotter than the centre of the sun. The milestones reached only lasted a fraction of a second but depicted a long road toward nearly pollution-free fusion energy.
The researchers performed the experiment at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California. They were able to spark the fusion reaction and it sustained itself briefly before it fizzled out. The ultimate goal is still far away, but it is to generate power the way the sun generates heat.
The process involves pushing hydrogen atoms so close together that they combine into helium which then releases torrents of energy. The team of scientists consisted of more than 100 people and their results were published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Alex Zylstra, the study lead author and experimental physicist at Livermore said “we’re very close to that next step,”
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