The world's most powerful laser system at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Labs can deliver more than 500 trillion watts (terawatts or TW) of peak power and 1.85 megajoules (MJ) of ultraviolet laser light to its target. In context, 500 terawatts is 1000 times more power than the United States uses at any instant in time, and 1.85 megajoules of energy is about 100 times what any other laser regularly produces today. The shot validated NIF's most challenging laser performance specifications set in the late 1990s when scientists were planning the world's most energetic laser facility. Combining extreme levels of energy and peak power on a target in the NIF is a critical requirement for achieving one of physics' grand challenges -- igniting hydrogen fusion fuel in the laboratory and producing more energy than that supplied to the target. The first step in achieving an experimental fusion reaction is to induce inertial confinement of a mixture of Deuterium and Tritium (isotopes of hydrogen) at high enough densities so that their is a self-sustaining reaction. such a reaction requires a large cross-section of individual nuclei which can only occur in a high density plasma. Various methods of achieving this have included using the Z-Pinch Process to create high energy X-rays to induce the confinement in fuel pellets,a so-called Z-Machine. Another fusion method involves using a uniform plasma confined in a collapsing magnetic field, called a Tokamak or a ...


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