The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is the world’s largest laser ; the size of three football fields. NIF consists of 192 intense laser beams that concentrates into a single target. These 192 laser beams are capable of directing two million joules of ultraviolet laser energy in a billionth of a second pulse to the target chamber, creating unimaginable temperatures and pressures.
When all the energy slams into the millimetre-sized target, it creates a miniature nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion occurs in stars by fusing hydrogen nuclei into helium nuclei. As a result, energy is released. In stars, the energy is converted to light to light the universe. In NIF, they are trying to develop a way to harness this energy because nuclear fusion produces no greenhouse gas, little radioactive particle waste and is more environmentally benign than energy from nuclear fission and fossil fuels. In addition, the energy released from nuclear fusion is 3 to 4 times greater than the energy released from nuclear fusion.
NIF can also provide a better understanding of the universe. Possibly even answer the questions of how the universe come into being or what happens in supernovas and black holes? One of the many things NIF can do is provide new exciting insights into what happened the first nanoseconds of Big Bang. NIF already had success when it played an important role in unlocking the secrets of connecting quarks with the cosmos. NIF promises breakthroughs in the use of lasers in medicine, radioactive and hazardous waste treatment, particle physics, and x-ray and neutron science.
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