Last year, for the first time in the lab, scientists achieved a fusion reaction that self-perpetuates and brings us closer to replicating the chemical reaction that powers the sun.
They are unsure of how to recreate the experiment.
Nuclear fusion takes place when two atoms combine to create a heavier atom.
It's hard to replicate in the lab because it needs a high-energy environment to keep the reaction going.
Nuclear fusion creates energy by breaking hydrogen atoms together.
Nuclear fusion is used for their fireworks displays. Iron is created when the power of these reactions is used.
In artificial settings on Earth, heat and energy can escape through cooling mechanisms.
To make nuclear fusion a viable energy source for humans, scientists first have to achieveignition, where the self- heating mechanisms overwhelm all the energy loss.
The fusion reaction is powered by ignition.
The 'Lawson-like ignition criteria' were created by physicist John Lawson in 1955.
Nuclear reactions can happen inside extremely intense environments.
The first-ever successful ignition of a nuclear fusion reaction was produced by the landmark experiment that took place on 8 August 2021.
The experiment was judged against a number of different versions of the criterion.
Annie Kritcher, a nuclear physicist at the National Ignition Facility, told New Scientist that this was the first time they had crossed the criterion.
The team used 192 high-energy lasers to create a bath of intense x-rays after placing a capsule of tritium and deuterium fuel in a gold-lined chamber.
The fusion reaction was created by the intense environment.
10 quadrillion watt of power was released by the fusion of hydrogen atoms under these conditions.
The researchers tried to duplicate the result in four other experiments but only produced half of the energy yield from the first experiment.
The structure of each capsule and the intensity of the lasers are small changes that are very sensitive to.
Jeremy Chittenden is a physicist at Imperial College London. The 8 August experiment was the best case.
The team wants to figure out how to make the experiment more resistant to small mistakes. The ultimate goal of this kind of research is to be able to scale up the process to create fusion reactor that can power cities.
Chittenden says that you don't want to be in a situation where you have to get everything right.
The article was published in a peer reviewed journal.