On Aug. 8, 2021, an experiment at the National Ignition Facility put researchers at the threshold of fusion ignition, achieving a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules — an 8X improvement over experiments conducted in spring 2021 and a 25X increase over NIF’s 2018 record yield. Credit: John Jett, LLNL.
On Aug. 8, 2021, an experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) made a significant step toward ignition, achieving a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules (MJ). This advancement puts researchers at the threshold of fusion ignition, an important goal of the NIF, and opens access to a new experimental regime.
The experiment was enabled by focusing laser light from NIF — the size of three football fields — onto a target the size of a BB that produces a hot-spot the diameter of a human hair, generating more than 10 quadrillion watts of fusion power for 100 trillionths of a second.
“These extraordinary results from NIF advance the science that NNSA depends on to modernize our nuclear weapons and production as well as open new avenues of research ,” said Jill Hruby, DOE under secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA administrator.