Ignition — the process of releasing fusion energy equal to or greater than the amount of energy used to confine the fuel — has long been considered the “holy grail” of inertial confinement fusion science.
A key step along the path to ignition is to have “fuel gains” greater than unity, where the energy generated through fusion reactions exceeds the amount of energy deposited into the fusion fuel.
Though ignition remains the ultimate goal, the milestone of achieving fuel gains greater than 1 has been reached for the first time ever on any facility. In a paper published in the Feb. 12 online issue of the journal Nature, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) detail a series of experiments on the National Ignition Facility (NIF), which show an order of magnitude improvement in yield performance over past experiments.
“What’s really exciting is that we are seeing a steadily increasing contribution to the yield coming from the boot-strapping process we call alpha-particle self-heating as we push the implosion a little harder each time,” said lead author Omar Hurricane.
Boot-strapping results when alpha particles, helium nuclei produced in the deuterium-tritium (DT) fusion process, deposit their energy in the DT fuel, rather than escaping. The alpha particles further heat the fuel, increasing the rate of fusion reactions, thus producing more alpha particles. This feedback process is the mechanism that leads to ignition. As reported in Nature, the boot-strapping process has been demonstrated in a series of experiments in which the fusion yield has been systematically increased by more than a factor of 10 over previous approaches.
The experimental series was carefully designed to avoid breakup of the plastic shell that surrounds and confines the DT fuel as it is compressed. It was hypothesized that the breakup was the source of degraded fusion yields observed in previous experiments. By modifying the laser pulse used to compress the fuel, the instability that causes break-up was suppressed. The higher yields that were obtained affirmed the hypothesis, and demonstrated the onset of boot-strapping.
The experimental results have matched computer simulations much better than previous experiments, providing an important benchmark for the models used to predict the behavior of matter under conditions similar to those generated during a nuclear explosion, a primary goal for the NIF.
The Latest on: Nuclear Fusion
via Google News
The Latest on: Nuclear Fusion
- Amazing Tech Developed by Private Firms Are on the Verge of Creating Nuclear Fusion Reactors to Power Humanityon May 13, 2021 at 1:25 pm
Nuclear fusion reactors are the key to unlimited clean energy, and two firms are racing to develop the first net-producing reactors.
- Nuclear fusion reactor could be built in Pembrokeshireon May 11, 2021 at 11:14 am
AN EXPERIMENTAL nuclear fusion reactor, which could create limitless energy, could be built on a site in Pembrokeshire’s Haven waterway.
- Near Term Pulsed Fusion Propulsionon May 11, 2021 at 10:06 am
The Limitless Space Institute had a report from its Interstellar Initiative Grant recipients. One of the presenters is from the University of Albama who are ...
- International Fusion Energy Gathering Openson May 10, 2021 at 11:58 am
Video of Fusion energy: can we tame plasma at 100 million degrees? (28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference) International collaboration is vital in developing and deploying fusion technology and the IAEA ...
- Nuclear fusion reactor could be built near Pembroke oil refineryon May 10, 2021 at 10:47 am
Pembroke could host an experimental nuclear fusion reactor if the council backs plans for a site by the Valero oil refinery. Pembrokeshire council will be asked 17 May to support the project, which it ...
- IAEA Director General's Statement at the 28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2020)on May 10, 2021 at 7:25 am
The conference this year has attracted about 3,000 participants from all over the world and is for the first time open to the public. The first Fusion Energy Conference was held in 1961. Since then, ...
- Ghana: Let's Prepare to Fight Greenhouse Emissions With Nuclear Energyon May 10, 2021 at 1:39 am
The experts say nuclear energy, also called nuclear power, atomic energy or atomic power, is a form of energy that is obtained through nuclear reaction that releases heat energy which in turn heats ...
- A fusion experiment promised to be the next step in solving humanity’s energy crisis. It’s a big claim to live up toon May 7, 2021 at 7:00 am
And governments would have to be committed to putting the success of fusion first.” He hopes the project he’s been working on for the last dozen years will give fusion energy that push. It’s called ...
- Nuclear power: how might radioactive waste water affect the environment?on May 6, 2021 at 1:01 am
It's been just over a decade since the fourth most powerful earthquake of the modern era triggered a tsunami that struck Fukushima on the eastern coastline of Japan, causing ...
- Debate: Aberthaw nuclear fusion power plant near Barryon May 3, 2021 at 12:00 pm
A CALL has been made for a proper debate and scrutiny over a proposed nuclear fusion power plant near Barry. Vale of Glamorgan council put forward Aberthaw, a recently closed coal-fired power plant, ...
via Bing News