Photo: Power up: This laser can deliver a 200-joule pulse of light lasting just 100 femtoseconds. The cables at left pump power to green flash lamps that pump the laser. Credit: Texas Petawatt Laser Project
From Technology Review:
New lasers will be key to making fusion energy and proton therapy practical.
This March, researchers at the National Ignition Facility demonstrated a 1.1 megajoule laser designed to ignite nuclear fusion reactions by 2010. But the facility's technology, which is housed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, cannot yet generate enough energy to drive a practical power plant. So, even as physicists look forward to next year's demonstration, they're working on even more powerful lasers that could make possible a method for a kind of laser-induced fusion called fast ignition.
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