Saturday, January 30, 2010

Laser fusion milestone

What better way to mark the 50th anniversary year of the laser than by producing a 669 kJ laser pulse (reported in Science), and then following that up with a 1 MJ pulse? (See BBC News article.)

Maybe getting it over the 1.2 MJ threshold and observing ignition of controlled thermonuclear fusion? This year?

They claim that it can be done this year, even though they did these initial experiments without the neutron shielding in place that is needed before doing that experiment because of the energetic neutrons that are produced by the d-t fusion reaction.


Unbalanced Reaction said...

Wow, amazing!

Doctor Pion said...

For those interested in what lasers can do, Chad has a great series at Uncertain Principles in honor of the 50th anniversary of lasers. The recent one on optical tweezers that is particularly nice.