Harnessing fusion, the process that powers the Sun, could provide a limitless, clean energy source.
In a process called inertial confinement fusion, 192 beams from NIF's (National Ignition Facility) laser - the highest-energy example in the world - are directed towards a peppercorn-sized capsule containing deuterium and tritium, which are different forms of the element hydrogen.
This compresses the fuel to 100 times the density of lead and heats it to 100 million degrees Celsius - hotter than the center of the Sun. These conditions help kickstart thermonuclear fusion.
NIF is one of several projects around the world geared towards advancing fusion research. They include the multi-billion-euro Iter facility, currently under construction in Cadarache, France.
But building commercially viable fusion facilities that can provide energy to the grid will require another giant leap.
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