The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is a laser-based inertial confinement fusion (ICF) research device, located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, United States. NIF’s mission is to achieve fusion ignition with high energy gain. It achieved the first instance of scientific breakeven controlled fusion in an experiment on December 5, 2022, with an energy gain factor of 1.5.
NIF is the largest and most powerful ICF device built to date. The basic ICF concept is to squeeze a small amount of fuel to reach the pressure and temperature necessary for fusion. NIF hosts the world’s most energetic laser. The laser heats the outer layer of a small sphere. The energy is so intense that it causes the sphere to implode, squeezing the fuel inside.
The implosion reaches a peak speed of 350 km/s (0.35 mm/ns), raising the fuel density from about that of water to about 100 times that of lead. The delivery of energy and the adiabatic process during implosion raises the temperature of the fuel to hundreds of millions of degrees. At these temperatures, fusion processes occur in the tiny interval before the fuel explodes outward.
Construction on the NIF began in 1997. NIF was completed five years behind schedule and cost almost four times its original budget. Construction was certified complete on March 31, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Energy. The first large-scale experiments were performed in June 2009 and the first “integrated ignition experiments” (which tested the laser’s power) were declared completed in October 2010.
According to en.wikipedia.org. britannica.com. Source of photos: internet