US scientists developing giant laser to achieve fusion

thecheers.org    2008-07-16 07:28:43    

Washington, July 16 : Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California are building a laser fusion machine that is 10 stories tall, 400 feet long and fueled with tritium and deuterium.
Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California are building a laser fusion machine that is 10 stories tall, 400 feet long and fueled with tritium and deuterium.

According to a report in Discovery News, the goal of the project, known as the National Ignition Facility (NIF), is to create such intense heat and pressure that the fuel, both isotopes of the element hydrogen, will fuse together to form helium.

Researchers expect that reaction will release massive amounts of energy that could one day provide nearly unlimited and environmentally friendly power to the world, advance basic scientific research and ensure the effectiveness of the nation's nuclear warheads.

"It is absolutely essential that we try this," said Richard Petrasso of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Plasma Science and Fusion Center who is also working on the NIF.

"If we can in fact achieve fusion and make copious amounts of energy, that would be a clear achievement," he added.

To achieve nuclear fusion, scientists will cool samples of deuterium and tritium - two isotopes of the element hydrogen that have extra neutrons - to just above absolute zero in a glass-capped cylinder about the size of a quarter.

Then 192 laser beams, split into two groups, will shine onto the fuel, heating it up to about the point of ignition.

Some of the energy will explode outwards, but some of the energy will further compress the innermost core of the fuel, compressing it so much that two hydrogen atoms will fuse together and create one helium atom.

Nuclear ignition, Petrasso explains, is like a smoldering log suddenly bursting into flames.

"Once you reach certain conditions of pressure and temperature that log will spontaneously start to burn," said Petrasso. "But the fuel for NIF is nuclear, not chemical, and because of that we will get much more energy," he added.

That reaction powers and creates similar, but controlled conditions found in huge supernovae many times the size of the sun and thermonuclear warheads, both of which will also be research focuses at the NIF, according to Bob Hirschfeld, also at the NIF.

The target chamber is also encased in aluminum, then in 16 inches of concrete, which is then encased with another round of concrete.

The lasers can only fire every few hours because of the extreme heat generated by the 500 trillion watts, more than 1,000 times the power generated in the United States at any moment, necessary to power the lasers. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI


TAGS: Science   


more
Why the veggie burger tastes just as good as a non-veg one

While a scrumptious non-veggie burger may be treat for your taste buds, the taste for meat could be based in part on expectation rather than reality, says a new study led by an Indian researcher, which shows that personal values deceive taste buds.

Scientists to drill into a crack in the edge of the world

An international consortium of scientists is preparing to drill into a crack in the edge of the world - the South Island's Alpine Fault in New Zealand.

US warrant surrendering Dr. Death to Oz Police imminent
18.Jul 2008
Ending a three-year quest to bring controversial In...read

Icebergs scouring ocean seabed could have severe effects on marine creatures
18.Jul 2008
New data has suggested that due to an increase in ...read

Humming fish gives clues to the origins of vocalization
18.Jul 2008
A male midshipman - a close relative of the toadfi...read



"Assisted migration of species" necessary for saving wildlife from global warming

Antarctica and North America may once have been connected

Indian-origin researchers find way to create heat pumps, energy converters from 'nanosculpture'

NASA's Deep Impact films Earth as an alien world

Men and women really do have different brains