Nuclear fusion has been in the news lately – researchers at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California were able to bring all 192 lasers online at the same time and were able to heat a BB sized pellet of fuel to millions of degrees Fahrenheit. They still have a ways to go before they achieve fusion ignition, but the successful test makes the researchers confident that they can achieve fusion ignition and a self-sustaining fusion reaction as soon as October of 2010.
Another nuclear fusion story that made the rounds this week comes from MIT. The Levitated Dipole Experiment (LDX) – a joint project from MIT and Columbia University, uses a large donut shaped superconducting magnet that levitates inside a closed container. The magnet is used to control the motion of superheated plasma. The researchers found that the turbulence from the motion causes the plasma to become more concentrated in spots – which is a crucial step to getting atoms to fuse together.
BNET.com has a wrap up of ten current nuclear fusion projects making progress around the world.