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World’s largest laser to test nuclear fusion breakthrough

The world’s largest laser, located at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California, and which science-fiction fans will recognize from the movie “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” will test the new breakthrough in energy technology: nuclear fusion.

For Arthur Pak, an experimental physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, work on the new breakthrough is just the beginning. What follows Pak and countless other researchers is to make it bigger and better.

According to The Oregonian, over the past few months, it was clear to researchers that they were approaching a breakthrough. On one occasion, around dawn, Pak checked for a critical number that showed whether the effort was successful.

“When I saw that number,”[ads1]; Pak said, “I was blown away.”

“You can work your whole career and never see this moment. You do it because you believe in the destination and you like the challenge,” he added. “When people come together and work collectively, we can do amazing things.”

On December 13, in Washington, DC, researchers announced that the Ignition Facility at LLNL achieved “ignition,” in which “the laser shot produced fusion reactions that generated 3.15 megajoules of power, topping the 2.05 megajoules provided by the laser.”

The next test for the team at LLNL will likely take place in February, with more experiments to follow in the following months. Their goal would be to tamper with the amount of laser energy or increase production altogether. One such experiment, the Oregonian noted, could even be upgrading the plant itself, which would likely require input from the Department of Energy and a huge amount of funding.

But the entire process toward meaningful development of nuclear fusion could take years, if not decades, based on the current state of experiments.

“Can we make it easier? Can we make this process easier and more repeatable? Can we start doing it more than once a day?” Kim Budil, the director of the Lawrence Livermore laboratory, asked. “Each of these is an incredible scientific and technical challenge for us.”

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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