A team of scientists from Imperial College London has probably made it less distant the possibility of obtaining unlimited energy from nuclear fusion thanks to a theoretical model of lasers that can develop 10 million degrees celsius (probably a higher temperature than that found in the center of the Sun) in 20 quadrillionths of a second: practically instantly.
The development represents a step towards the dream of obtaining energy from thermonuclear fusion: a clean, sustainable and unlimited source that uses the same dynamics of the Sun to produce heat.
The challenge in producing energy is represented by a not negligible detail: it is necessary to obtain more energy than is required to carry out the process. This is why heating things to the temperature of the Sun is not easy at all: current laser technology has failed to make this process efficient, but this model can lead to the creation of devices capable of obtaining the result 100 times faster.
The approach is completely different from the previous ones: Currently experiments to achieve fusion use lasers to transfer heat to the electrons of a material, which in turn heat the ions. The new procedure aims to provide heat in an even more targeted way, in the right place and at the right time, pointing directly to the same ions.
“The key to this process is finding the right material,” says one of the team scientists, the physicist Arthur Turrell. “We are experimenting with various computer models to identify the specific combination of ions. A promising path seems to us to be related to plastic materials, which contain two types of ions. Being able to produce a friction between them can lead us to the result, just as two matches take heat only if they rub against each other ".
The proposed technique is available to all laboratories that want to experiment with it.
The research text was published on Nature: here is the link