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Optica Publishing Group
  • CLEO/Europe and EQEC 2011 Conference Digest
  • OSA Technical Digest (CD) (Optica Publishing Group, 2011),
  • paper CA4_1

The National Ignition Facility and the Goal of Near-term Laser Fusion Energy

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The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is the world’s largest and most energetic laser experimental facility that is operational and is conducting experiments at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The NIF’s 192 beams capable of delivering 1.8-megajoule, 500-terawatt, ultraviolet laser light, over 60 times more energy than any previous laser system. The NIF can create temperatures of more than 100 million degrees and pressures more than 100 billion times Earth’s atmospheric pressure. These conditions, similar to those at the center of the sun, have never before been created in the laboratory and will allow scientists to probe the physics of planetary interiors, supernovae, black holes, and other phenomena. NIF’s laser beams are designed to compress fusion targets to the conditions required for thermonuclear burn, liberating more energy than is required to initiate the fusion reaction.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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