Lasers answering questions in a quest for nuclear fusion

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — One Rochester lab is trying to create energy through nuclear fusion using lasers. The University of Rochester’s Laser Laboratory of energetics is now one step closer to harnessing the fusion reaction; what many say will power the future. 

 “We are able to transfer laser energy in a plasma,” said Dustin Froula, experimental plasma group leader for the University of Rochester’s Laboratory of Laser Energetics. Froula explains how a newer laser can interact with other lasers within a plasma to combine hydrogen cells. “They transfer energy between one beam and the other and understanding that transfer of energy is really critical to being able to precisely implode the capsules,” said Froula. 

The laser-driven inertial confinement fusion is nothing new. Staff scientist Dave Turnbull says they are doing experiments they have not ever been able to do. “We’ve been able to examine some ideas that were proposed decades ago,” said Turnbull, “But have not been experimentally demonstrated because of the complexity of the environment.” 

 The goal is to create more energy than what is going into the system. This project will help diagnose the exchange of energy within the plasma. The facility is available for visits. You can find more information here.

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