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
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Nuclear Fusion” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Nuclear Fusion
- Inside The Audacious Plan To Use 10,000 Nuclear Microreactors To Wean The World Off Coalon February 3, 2023 at 2:30 am
Bret Kugelmass of Last Energy aims to build his first ten inexpensive, off-the-shelf fission reactors in eastern Europe.
- NT-Tao raises $22M to explore way to generate energy from nuclear fusionon February 1, 2023 at 11:00 am
NT-Tao has rasied $22 million to explore a way to generate clean energy from nuclear fusion in an efficient way.
- Advanced Materials Market for Nuclear Fusion Technology Value to Reach US$ 911.2 Bn by 2031: TMR Studyon February 1, 2023 at 10:30 am
North America accounted for dominant share in 2021 due to rise in demand for advanced materials from industrialized economies, such as the U.S. and CanadaWilmington, Delaware, United States, Feb. 02, ...
- Israeli nuclear fusion co NT-Tao raises $22mon February 1, 2023 at 6:32 am
Israeli nuclear fusion energy company NT-Tao today announced the completion of a $22 million Series A financing round led by Delek US and NextGear Ventures, with participation from Honda, OurCrowd and ...
- Rolls-Royce unveils early-stage design for space nuclear reactoron February 1, 2023 at 6:00 am
A new image shows a possible version of future space propulsion. Nuclear fission systems, which harness the energy released in the splitting of atoms, could be used to power astronaut bases on the ...
- Modular nuclear fusion startup NT-Tao nets $22M, backed by Delekon February 1, 2023 at 4:00 am
The burgeoning nuclear sector is gaining traction among investors and large energy and transportation companies that see a growing role for a source of low-carbon energy. Details: Delek US, a Fortune ...
- Nuclear fusion is the energy source of the future, by James Broughelon January 31, 2023 at 8:00 pm
Last month, nuclear fusion topped headlines around the world when scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California announced an essential milestone in developing this nascent ...
- A Long Way From Nuclear Fusionon January 31, 2023 at 6:58 am
Additionally, to turn this kind of fusion reaction into an actual power source, the same effect would have to be replicated at a much higher frequency—more like several times a second rather than once ...
- Nuclear Fusion Isn’t the Silver Bullet We Want It to Beon January 30, 2023 at 10:13 am
It’s not about creating future clean energy and never has been. It’s about “protecting” the world’s greatest capitalist superpower.
- Nuclear Fusion Won’t Save the Climate, But It Might Blow Up the Worldon January 26, 2023 at 11:03 pm
Net-energy-gain fusion, a long-sought-after panacea for all that’s wrong with traditional nuclear-fission energy (read: accidents, radioactive waste), had finally been achieved at the Lawrence ...
via Bing News