Closing in on fusion energy

With 192 laser beams and a tiny amount of hydrogen, scientists take one step closer to harnessing a powerful energy source

By Stephen Ornes, 16:53 PM February 16, 2014

Last September, scientists fired 192 laser beams all at once at a pebble-sized plastic capsule. Inside the capsule: a layer of frozen hydrogen. The brief blast lasted only 160 trillionths of a second. Still, it was powerful enough to set off a flurry of reactions in which the cores, or nuclei, of hydrogen atoms fused together. This nuclear fusion released enough energy to also cause other nearby nuclei to fuse. Those fused nuclei released enough energy to keep the reaction going — if only bri...

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