Made-in-lab Sun

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Scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in Livermore, USA, are attempting to create an artificial Sun on Earth which will provide answer to the world’s impending energy shortage. This spring the team of researchers will try to ignite a tiny man-made star inside a laboratory and trigger a thermonuclear reaction.

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Why should I be aware of this?

Scientists now believe that by harnessing the power of nuclear fusion, the reaction that burns at the heart of the Sun, they are on brink of cracking one of the biggest problems in physics – something which seemed impossible for almost 100 years.

If successful, the experiment will mark the first step towards building a practical nuclear fusion power station and a source of almost limitless energy.

All about Made-in-lab-Sun

In their efforts to create the conditions which exist inside the Sun, the researchers will use a laser that concentrates 1,000 times the electric generating power of the United States into a billionth of a second. The result should be an explosion in the 32ft-wide reaction chamber which will produce at least 10 times the amount of energy used to create it.

Housed within a dust-free hanger-sized room to prevent impurities getting into the beam, the laser will be split into 192 separate beams, converted into ultraviolet light and focused into a capsule at the centre of an aluminum and concrete-coated target chamber.

High-energy X-rays

High-energy X-rays would be generated once the laser beams hit the inside of the capsule, and within a few billionths of a second, compress the fuel pellet inside until its outer shell blows off.

The explosion of the fuel pellet shell produces an equal and opposite reaction that compresses the fuel itself together until nuclear fusion begins, releasing vast amounts of energy.

CopperBytes

  • A 35-year experiment is being carried out in a laboratory on the banks of the Sabarmati in Gujarat, India, where scientists are testing a doughnut-shaped device, which they hope will make a little artificial sun for 1,000 seconds, many million degrees hotter than the sun’s core.
  • In 2004, scientists at the Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, Russia, claimed to have succeeded in creating the most powerful magnetic field on Earth which allowed to preserve energy equal to the Sun`s energy. [1]

References:

  • A made-in-lab Sun for endless energy
  • Made-in-sun-lab
  • Here comes the artificial sun

Source

  1. Gateway to Russia