Public Lecture: Can Fusion Step Up? Encouraging Developments in Laser Fusion Research and Prospects for a Future Energy Source

May 19, 2014

From Precourt Institute for Energy

Siegfried Glenzer, Distinguished Staff Scientist, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Monday, May 19, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

One of the great challenges of this century is to determine if nuclear fusion of hydrogen isotopes can be demonstrated in the laboratory and developed into an unlimited carbon-free energy source. Recently, experiments on laser-driven targets have begun on the National Ignition Facility to reach temperatures and densities more extreme than the center of the sun. These studies have the goal to demonstrate a burning plasma state with significant fusion energy gain. In this talk, I will present a new high-energy-density science program at SLAC aimed at pursuing discovery-class science of fusion plasmas. Here, we use the seeded LCLS beam with x-ray pulses with the highest peak brightness available today. This capability allows us to measure plasmons and physical material properties in dynamic experiments. Our data allow direct determination of pressure for validating theoretical models of the most extreme states of matter. I will show how LCLS data relate back to the design of ignition fusion experiments and will discuss prospects for near-term progress and fusion energy gain in the future.

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