X-rays squeeze fuel to generate nuclear fusion energy

November 07, 2002

Working toward the vision of generating clean energy from nuclear fusion, researchers have successfully imploded fuel capsules by bombarding them with intense x-rays. The results show that the process generates significant fusion and that the implosion method looks capable of generating large-scale energy production.

The process works by bombarding two millimeter (about 1/16th inch) fuel capsules with intense x-rays from Sandia National Laboratories Z-pinch machine. The x-rays, impacting from all directions, cause an implosion that reduces the capsule's size by a factor of ten (see images at web site). This implosion needs to be symmetrical or else the capsules will break apart and fusion won't take place. In one set of experiments, a high degree of symmetry has been achieved in the implosion process, indicating that the process might be scaled up to energy production levels. In another set of experiments using the Z-pinch, researchers observed significant production of neutrons, a sign of nuclear fusion.

These successful experiments are an important step toward ignition, the level at which the fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining and excess energy can be drawn from the process for other applications.
-end-
Tom Mehlhorn, Sandia National Labs, 505-845-7266, tamehlh@sandia.gov
John Porter, 505-845-7526, jlporte@sandia.gov

Extended summary of work and images: http://www.aps.org/meet/DPP02/baps/press/mehlhorn.pdf

[GO2.001] Characterization of a z-pinch dynamic hohlraum source used to drive capsule implosions on the Z-accelerator
Abstract: http://www.aps.org/meet/DPP02/baps/abs/S850001.html

[KP1.146] Hemispherical Capsule Implosion Measurements in a Z-Pinch-Driven Fast Ignitor Fuel Compression Geometry
Abstract: http://www.aps.org/meet/DPP02/baps/abs/S1200146.html

American Physical Society

Related Nuclear Fusion Articles from Brightsurf:

An unprecedented discovery of cell fusion
Understanding how bacteria interact is critical to solving growing problems such as antibiotic resistance, in which infectious bacteria form defenses to thwart the medicines used to fight them.

Lose weight of fusion reactor component
Superconducting coils in a fusion power reactor exert a huge electromagnetic force.

Nuclear medicine and COVID-19: New content from The Journal of Nuclear Medicine
In one of five new COVID-19-related articles and commentaries published in the June issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Johnese Spisso discusses how the UCLA Hospital System has dealt with the pandemic.

Story tips: Shuffling atoms, thinning forests, fusion assembly and nuclear medicine
ORNL Story Tips: Shuffling atoms, thinning forests, fusion assembly and nuclear medicine.

Discovery about the edge of fusion plasma could help realize fusion power
Unique PPPL simulations reveal new understanding of the highly complex edge of fusion plasmas.

Feeding fusion: hydrogen ice pellets prove effective for fueling fusion plasmas
Injecting pellets of hydrogen ice rather than puffing hydrogen gas improves fusion performance.

Fusion by strong lasers
Nuclear physics usually involves high energies, as illustrated by experiments to master controlled nuclear fusion.

Electrical stimulation aids in spinal fusion
Spine surgeons in the U.S. perform more than 400,000 spinal fusions each year as a way to ease back pain and prevent vertebrae in the spine from wiggling around and doing more damage.

Nuclear physics -- probing a nuclear clock transition
Physicists have measured the energy associated with the decay of a metastable state of the thorium-229 nucleus.

The key to unlock bacterial fusion
Researchers identify how a Chlamydia-produced protein helps bacterial compartments fuse together, thus increasing pathogenicity.

Read More: Nuclear Fusion News and Nuclear Fusion Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.