Flying cars. A hundred years ago, this was some people’s vision of the future, which we have not been able to achieve at the level of general use, even today. We have often overestimated our evolution before, but a fifty-year-old prediction may now come true.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California set out to conduct a special experiment based on a suggestion from last century. Scientists at the time believed that by using lasers we could extract more energy from fusion reactions than was needed to keep them going. This was also one of the incentives for the development of higher power lasers.
like the sun
The goal is to extract electrical energy from controlled thermonuclear fusion. The idea is to use laser light to vaporize, ionize and compress solid fuel pellets, thus catalyzing nuclear fusion, according to the researchers. Sciences In a newspaper article.
A breakthrough was made in California at the end of last year. In December 2022, one of the laser experiments as a result of The researchers were able to generate more energy than was used to power this process. A pea-sized fuel capsule produced a burst of 3 million joules of energy when it was heated with a 2 million joule laser pulse.
The results of the experiment, which attempts to reproduce the way the sun produces energy, were revealed at a press conference on December 13. In July, the laboratory repeated this feat and achieved the highest energy production to date. An explosion with a power of about 2 million joules produced nearly 4 million joules of fusion energy, the laboratory said in a statement.
Although the results are encouraging, the process is currently neither profitable nor profitable.
This is because although the researchers were able to recover twice the laser power used, much more power is needed to power the laser equipment, meaning laser fusion is still not a profitable power source.