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🦧 crazy high ratio
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a new milestone
scientists at the lawrence livermore national laboratory achieved a major scientific breakthrough – the “scientific energy breakeven”
simply put, this means that more energy is produced than how much energy was used as input
after "60 years of global research, development, engineering, and experimentation", the lasers deposited 2.05 megajoules into their target, and the resulting fusion released 3.15 megajoules, roughly a 1.5 output-to-input ratio, highest ever achieved in a fusion experiment
hold up, what's fusion?
it's when atoms form bigger atoms, producing energy. naturally, it happens all the time in the core of the sun where hydrogen is being converted into helium (aka nuclear fusion)
it's just that fusion, in a non-natural man-made setting, takes more energy to cause it than it produces
fusion can be a clean energy source as it does not produce greenhouse gases or radioactive waste
so how did they do it?
i still have more to learn here – but essentially, they pointed 192 lasers (world's highest energy) into the same target about the size of a peppercorn filled with hydrogen atoms
this effectively replicates the heat and pressure of a star's core
we’re not quite there yet tho…
producing the 2 magejoules of laser power required ~300 megajoules of grid power, so zooming out from the 1.5 output-to-input ratio of the fusion itself, the overall process is far from break-even
large scale commercialization of fusion may still be several decades away
pretty cool stuff!
💡 something im thinking about
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