American scientists have achieved a breakthrough in the field of fusion ignition for the second time Scientists have known for about a century that fusion powers the Sun, and for decades they have been working to develop fusion on Earth. It produced more fusion energy than the laser energy used to power it.
US scientists have made a net energy gain in a fusion reaction for the second time since December, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said on Sunday. Scientists at the California lab repeated the fusion ignition breakthrough in an experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) on July 30, producing a higher energy yield than in December, spokesman Lawrence Livermore said. The final results are still being analyzed, the spokeswoman added.
Lawrence Livermore made a net energy gain in a fusion experiment using lasers on December 5, 2022. Scientists aimed a laser at a fuel target to fuse two light atoms into a denser one, releasing energy. That experiment briefly achieved what’s known as a fusion ignition, generating 3.15 megajoules of output energy after the laser delivered 2.05 megajoules to the target, the Energy Department said.
In other words, it produced more energy from the fusion than the laser energy used to propel it, the department said. The Department of Energy called it “a major scientific breakthrough decades in the making that will pave the way for advances in national defense and a clean energy future.”
Scientists have known for about a century that fusion powers the Sun, and for decades they have been working to develop fusion on Earth. Such a breakthrough could one day help limit climate change if companies scale the technology to a commercial level in the coming decades.