March 25, 2023

The small diamond ball that can help dream about the near-infinite clean energy

  • author, Carrie King
  • roll, from Berlin

credit, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Illustrative image,

The National Ignition Facility in California is home to the most powerful laser in the world

At 1:03 a.m. on Monday, December 5, scientists at the National Ignition Facility in California directed 192-beam lasers at a cylinder containing a small diamond fuel capsule.

This powerful burst of laser light created enormous temperatures and pressures and triggered a fusion reaction – the reaction that powers the sun.

The National Ignition Facility (NIF), part of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), has conducted such experiments before, but this time the energy generated by the reaction was greater than that of the laser used to activate it.

Scientists have been trying to get this far for decades, and the hope is to one day build power plants that use the fusion reaction to generate abundant, carbon-free electricity.