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Nuclear fusion powers the stars, and the goal of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is to bring this game-changing energy source to Earth in a controlled laboratory setting. After many decades of research by a cast of thousands, for the first time ever, a laser-driven fusion experiment on December 5, 2022 produced more energy through fusion reactions than was delivered by the laser to initiate them. This talk reviews the incremental steps that were required to attain this historic achievement, in addition to providing some context around the NIF facility and its contributing role to our national security. We will conclude with some of the current and upcoming directions for inertial confinement fusion research – the future is bright!
Dr. Chris Young is a designer in the inertial confinement fusion (ICF) and high energy density (HED) physics programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Since 2016 he has co-led and supported a variety of National Ignition Facility campaigns by modeling laser fusion experiments with LLNL’s large multi-physics simulation codes. Previously, he completed a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University with Professor Mark Cappelli, studying satellite electric propulsion and laser diagnostics of low temperature plasmas.
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