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Laser Fusion: An Old Dream Nears Realization

Photonics Spectra
Jan 1997
E. Michael Campbell and Ralph R. Jacobs, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

When completed in 2002, the National Ignition Facility will culminate more than a decade of research on laser ignition: the controlled implosion of a small, hydrogen-isotope-filled target by laser beams of sufficient energy and quality to create inertially confined fusion -- a process comparable to that at the center of the sun. The program will then set out to fulfill its ultimate civilian goal -- creating a low-cost, inexhaustible supply of electric power through repeated, sustained laser ignition and fusion energy gain.


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