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Fusion Fuel Gets Closer To Reality

Update Date: Feb 13, 2014 09:28 AM EST

A new breakthrough by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have brought fusion fuel closer to reality. 

Researchers are reportedly noticing a steady increase in the contribution to the yield coming from the boot-strapping process called alpha-particle self-heating when pushed the implosion a little harder each time. 

"What's really exciting is that we are seeing a steadily increasing contribution to the yield coming from the boot-strapping process we call alpha-particle self-heating as we push the implosion a little harder each time," said lead author Omar Hurricane in the press release. 

Boot-strapping yields results when alpha particles, helium nuclei produced in the deuterium-tritium (DT) fusion process, deposited their energy in the DT fuel, rather than escaping, reported Zee News. 

A series of experiments were designed in order to avoid breakup of the plastic shell surrounding the DT fuels as it was compressed. Prior it was hypothesized that the breakup was the source of degraded fusion.

Researchers modified the laser pulse which was used to compress the fuel which resulted into the instability that caused break-up to be suppressed. 

"There is more work to do and physics problems that need to be addressed before we get to the end," added Hurricane, "but our team is working to address all the challenges, and that's what a scientific team thrives on."

The study is published in the journal Nature

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