World’s Largest Laser Gets Ready for Fusion Experiments

April 7, 2009
World’s largest laser gets ready for fusion experiments

Technicians at the National Ignition Facility, part of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, recently fired all 192 laser beams that make up the NIF Project into a special target chamber. Each beam generated an average of 420 j for a combined output of 80 kj, or 20 times more energy than any other laser can generate.

Over the next several months, the Lab will boost energy levels to the point where the system can send a 1.8-mj, 20-nsec pulse of UV energy into a BB-sized target. This would be 500 trillion W of peak power, more than the peak power of all electrical plants in the U.S. combined, researchers say. They believe this will be enough to fuse hydrogen isotopes in the target into helium nuclei and create more energy than was needed to initiate the reaction.

The first attempt to start such a reaction should be in late 2010. Construction of the laser began in 2001.

Sponsored Recommendations

How to Build Better Robotics with Integrated Actuators

July 17, 2024
Reese Abouelnasr, a Mechatronics Engineer with Harmonic Drive, answers a few questions about the latest developments in actuators and the design or engineering challenges these...

Crisis averted: How our AI-powered services helped prevent a factory fire

July 10, 2024
Discover how Schneider Electric's services helped a food and beverage manufacturer avoid a factory fire with AI-powered analytics.

Pumps Push the Boundaries of Low Temperature Technology

June 14, 2024
As an integral part of cryotechnology, KNF pumps facilitate scientific advances in cryostats, allowing them to push temperature boundaries and approach absolute zero.

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!