For over half a century, scientists have tried to recreate the fusion reactions that power the sun. Their challenge has been generating more energy than a fusion reaction itself consumes. For the first time, National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California has now reached this major milestone, known as net energy gain.Last week, NIF’s experiment delivered 2.05 megajoules (MJ) of energy to the target, resulting in 3.15 MJ of fusion energy output. The result was ignition, as well as modest net energy gain. Scientists believe this technology could one day help generate commercial-scale power.
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“Our optics teams are very excited about this achievement. We’ve been working toward this for decades, solving problems that seemed unsolvable. We’re looking forward to continuing to deliver perfect optical glass solutions as part of our commitment to developing clean power solutions,” said Bill James, Head of Research and Development for SCHOTT North America, Inc.
SCHOTT supplies laser glass and optical glass for all relevant parts of NIFs high energy laser used for its ground breaking research. Besides advanced laser glass, this includes fused silica, BOROFLOAT® debris shields, N-BK7 polarizers and turning mirror substrates, blast shields between flashlamps and the laser slabs, and specialty filters.