19 Aug 2021 Nuclear fusion research: The developments
Nuclear fusion research: The developments
The Findings of the research:
- The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California reported that a nuclear fusion experiment conducted in its National Ignition Facility had resulted in a breakthrough.
- Lasers were utilized to heat a small target or fuel pellets in the experiment. These deuterium and tritium pellets fused and produced more energy. The team was able to generate a production of more than 1.3 megajoules, according to the researchers.
- The energy released during the experiment is tremendous.
- Nuclear fusion is defined as the fusion of multiple tiny nuclei into a single giant nucleus, releasing massive quantities of energy in the process. Our sun is powered by nuclear fusion, and harnessing this energy might provide an endless supply of renewable energy.
- Nuclear fusion energy is a good alternative as the baseload energy in the future with numerous advantages, such as inexhaustibility of resources, inherent safety, no long-lived radioactive wastes, and nearly no CO2 emissions
- New diagnostics were employed, laser precision was enhanced, and the design was altered. They used laser radiation to heat and pressurise fuel pellets at conditions similar to those found in the Sun’s core. The fusion reactions were induced as a result of this.
- These processes produced positively charged particles known as alpha particles, which heated the plasma around them. (Electrons are ripped off the nuclei of atoms at high temperatures, resulting in plasma or an ionised state of matter.) The fourth state of matter is also known as plasma.
- The heated plasma also ejected alpha particles, resulting in a self-sustaining reaction known as ignition. Ignition boosts the energy output of the nuclear fusion reaction, which could lead to more sustainable energy in the future.
- The researchers discovered an energy output of more than 1.3 megajoules on August 8.
- This is a significant achievement because the output is higher than the previous highest energy production.
- We’ll be able to investigate states of matter we’ve never been able to make in the lab before, such as those found in stars and supernovae
- We could potentially learn more about quantum states of matter and even situations closer to the Big Bang’s inception-the hotter we get, the closer we come to the Universe’s very initial state.
Source: The Indian Express
Syllabus: GS 3 (Science & Technology)