Nuclear fusion powers the stars and offers the promise of unlimited, clean energy on Earth.
But controlled thermonuclear fusion in the lab usually requires large and expensive magnetic field coils to stably confine burning plasma, ionized nuclei that collide to initiate nuclear fusion. A&A’s Fusion Z-Pinch Experiments (FuZE) Lab has demonstrated a smaller, cheaper method: We have measured sustained nuclear fusion for the first time from a 50-cm long plasma column called a Z-pinch. This method compresses a flowing plasma using electromagnetic forces, which drive the plasma to higher temperatures and densities.
While the Z-pinch is not a new plasma confinement concept, it was largely abandoned as a path for fusion energy because the plasma was not stable, which limited how long it could be confined. To get around this issue, we exploited the fact that flows can stabilize plasma, and our flowing plasma was maintained five thousand times longer than a static plasma. We also observed the sustained release of telltale energetic neutrons signaling nuclear fusion. Because this approach provides a path to nuclear fusion without coils, it could be used in the future for long-duration fusion burns in a compact and low-cost device.
The Latest on: Nuclear fusion
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The Latest on: Nuclear fusion
- Get Ready for the Nuclear Fusion Revolutionon August 23, 2021 at 5:00 am
Scientists at the National Ignition Facility, part of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, announced that they had produced about 10 quadrillion watts of fusion power after blasting a hydrogen ...
- Nuclear fusion test re-creates power of the sun in step toward energy revolutionon August 22, 2021 at 7:38 pm
The result is a significant step forward in the pursuit of nuclear fusion, a long-sought-after panacea for many energy and environmental challenges. The experiment took place at the National Ignition ...
- Researchers achieve breakthrough, inch closer to igniting nuclear fusion reactionon August 21, 2021 at 10:36 pm
Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved a breakthrough that inches humankind closer to sustainable power generation by nuclear fusion ...
- Michio Kaku calls nuclear fusion test at national lab ‘giant step toward the holy grail of energy research’on August 19, 2021 at 5:38 pm
Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku explains why a recent nuclear fusion test at a national lab was a "giant step toward the holy grail of energy research." ...
- Nuclear fusion experiment sparks hope for an energy revolutionon August 19, 2021 at 4:45 pm
For an almost imperceptible fraction of a second on Aug. 8, massive lasers at a government facility in Northern California re-created the power of the sun in a tiny hot spot no wider than a human hair ...
- US lab stands on threshold of key nuclear fusion goalon August 18, 2021 at 11:11 pm
A US science institute is on the verge of achieving a longstanding goal in nuclear fusion research. The National Ignition Facility uses a powerful laser to heat and compress hydrogen fuel, initiating ...
- With a powerful laser blast, scientists near a nuclear fusion milestoneon August 18, 2021 at 11:06 am
A National Ignition Facility experiment spawned nuclear fusion reactions that released nearly as much energy as was used to ignite them.
- Nuclear scientists hail US fusion breakthroughon August 18, 2021 at 12:47 am
Nuclear scientists using lasers the size of three football fields said Tuesday they had generated a huge amount of energy from fusion, possibly offering hope for the development of a new clean energy ...
- A national lab achieved a ‘Wright Brothers moment’ in nuclear fusionon August 17, 2021 at 4:16 pm
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced a key achievement in fusion research Tuesday. Fusion, the lesser-known opposite reaction to nuclear fission, is when two atoms slam together to form a ...
- A national lab just achieved a 'Wright Brothers moment' in nuclear fusionon August 17, 2021 at 1:00 pm
The results make "a significant step toward ignition," the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced on Tuesday.
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