Scientists have hit an important landmark in making nuclear fusion possible. It is particularly a viable source of energy because the energy we can achieve from nuclear fusion is very high, but the production of waste is very low as well.
US scientists used the world’s largest laser and cajoled the fusion fuel for the “first time to heat itself beyond the heavy they zapped into it, achieving a phenomenon called a burning plasma that marked a stride toward self-sustaining fusion energy.”
The energy produced from that was equivalent to nine nine-volt batteries. This experiment however represents a milestone in the quest for fusion energy. Researchers have stated however that many more years of experiments and work are needed.
The latter experiments produced something known as plasma which is one of the various states of matter such as: solid, liquid, and gas.
Alex Zylstra who is an experimental physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory stated that “If you want to make a campfire, you want to get the fire to hot enough that the wood can keep itself burning, This is a good analogy for burning plasma, where the fusion is now starting to become self-sustaining.”
How this energy occurred was that the scientists directed 192 laser beams toward a small target capsule which was filled with the fusion fuel made up of plasma of deuterium and tritium (forms of hydrogen). At very high temperatures, the nucleus of the deuterium and the nucleus of the tritium come together which releases a neutron and a positively charged particle which is known as an “alpha particle” and energy is released.
This is a more viable form of energy because unlike burning fossil fuels, fusion gives very high amounts of energy without the pollution, radioactive waste or greenhouse gases. Annie Kritcher of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory stated that “Fusion energy is the holy grail of clean limitless energy” [Reuters].
ARTICLE: AANAND MAHATO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS
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