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direct-drive laser fusion
In direct-drive laser fusion, an array of laser beams uniformly illuminates a pea-size hollow capsule containing the fusion fuel (mixture of deuterium and tritium). The pressure from the laser heated capsule surface accelerates the shell to 400 km/sec (894,000 miles per hour) and the resulting implosion compresses the fuel and heats a portion of the fuel in the center to the thermonuclear ignition temperature of 100 million degrees. This can serve as a power source if the fusion energy output is much larger than that needed to produce the laser beams. NRL simulations of implosions predict that the ArF laser’s short wavelength light will substantially reduce the laser energy needed to reach high enough fusion energy gain for power production.

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Photo by: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory |  VIRIN: 200601-N-UI176-2002.JPG