News & AnalysisENERGY

Laser Fusion Shots Take Step Toward Ignition

Science  14 Feb 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6172, pp. 721
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6172.721

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The National Ignition Facility (NIF), a troubled laser fusion lab in California, has finally produced some results fusion scientists can get enthusiastic about. In a series of experiments last year, NIF researchers produced yields of energy 10 times greater than achieved before and demonstrated the phenomenon of self-heating that will be crucial if fusion is to reach its ultimate goal of "ignition"—a self-sustaining reaction that produces more energy than it consumes.