Scientists from Australia have achieved thermonuclear fusion

(ORDO NEWS) — Startup HB11 is working on an alternative approach to nuclear fusion. Instead of temperatures of a million degrees, laser pulses are used to start the reaction. It looks like the team has been successful.

The first tests of the technology exceeded expectations by a factor of ten. According to HB11, the company is “the only commercial enterprise to achieve fusion.”

Opening details

  • In order to push atoms together so that they merge and form a new element, it is necessary to overcome the repulsive force acting on two positively charged nuclei.
  • The sun copes with this task by heating a huge number of hydrogen atoms to tens of millions of degrees.
  • At this temperature, the atoms begin to move so fast that they touch, combine, turn into helium, and release energy.
  • Most modern fusion reactors simulate this process using magnetic fields containing hot plasma.
  • HB11 scientists are investigating a different approach that doesn’t require colossal temperatures or radioactive fuel like tritium.
  • Instead, chirp laser pulses are used, capable of delivering unprecedented power levels of over 10 petawatts.

Using high-precision lasers, scientists are going to disperse hydrogen atoms so much that they collide with boron atoms and merge in a fusion reaction.

In this case, helium atoms or alpha particles will appear, in which there are no electrons. These charges will be collected to generate energy without any steam, turbines and nuclear waste.

After the researchers conducted the first experiments, they repeated them already on the new equipment in Japan.

The company’s lead scientist, Dimitri Batani, says the team has been able to prove the efficiency of generating alpha particles using a petawatt laser. The figures turned out to be one order of magnitude higher than the previous results.

So far, the results are still far from commercialization of the technology and its full use. However, they prove the success of the approach and open up opportunities for further research and search for options for optimizing the technology.


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