03.03.2017_No45 / News in Brief

Scientists Propose ‘New Path’ Towards Holy Grail Of Nuclear Fusion

Research & Development

3 Mar (NucNet): Scientists have offered a glimpse into a possible new path towards the goal of nuclear fusion by suggesting that rather than heating atoms to temperatures found inside the sun or smashing them in a collider, it might be possible to nudge them close enough to fuse by using shaped laser pulses, or “ultrashort, tuned bursts of coherent light”. A paper by scientists at Rice University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chile describes a basic proof-of-principle simulation that shows how, in two dimensions, a shaped-laser pulse would push a molecule of deuterium and tritium, its nuclei already poised at a much smaller internuclear distance than in a plasma, nearly close enough to fuse. Controlled nuclear fusion – the process which powers the sun and the stars – has been a holy grail for physicists who seek an endless supply of clean energy. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) fusion project at the Cadarache nuclear site in southern France will be the world’s largest experimental fusion facility. It is designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion. Details online: http://bit.ly/2mO4VVh

Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):

  • Iter Council Confirms First Plasma Target As 2025 (News in Brief No.231, 22 November 2016)




David Dalton

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