Nuclear scientists using lasers the size of three football fields said Tuesday they had generated a huge amount of energy from fusion, possibly offering hope for the development of a new clean energy source.
Experts focused their giant array of almost 200 laser beams onto a tiny spot to create a mega blast of energy – eight times more than they had ever done in the past.
Although the energy only lasted for a very short time – just 100 trillionths of a second – it took scientists closer to the holy grail of fusion ignition, the moment when they are creating more energy than they are using.
"This result is a historic advance for inertial confinement fusion research," said Kim Budil, the director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which operates the National Ignition Facility in California, where the experiment took place this month.
Nuclear fusion is considered by some scientists to be a potential energy of the future, particularly because it produces little waste and no greenhouse gases.