SHINE Technologies, a nuclear fusion company based in Janesville, Wisconsin, has successfully shown visible evidence of its working fusion reaction. This produced visible light as a result, and the company says this is the first time it has been achieved in nuclear fusion.
As the world seeks cleaner ways to get energy, nuclear power is becoming popular again because it doesn’t produce a lot of pollution. Companies are also focusing on getting energy from nuclear fusion, which doesn’t create nuclear waste.
But there are still many challenges with nuclear fusion. Scientists are trying to figure out how to control the hot, energetic gas used to make energy and get more energy out of the reaction than they put in. SHINE is trying different ways to make nuclear fusion work, and they want to use it in industries and medicine to solve the energy problem.
SHINE’s plan to achieve successful nuclear fusion involves using the technology for smaller tasks, like checking parts in factories. They started doing this for airplanes and defense systems in April.
The fusion system’s target chamber at SHINE is underwater. While the fusion reaction was happening, the team saw a blue glow. Scientists call this glow Cherenkov radiation, named after a famous scientist who explained it.
Cherenkov radiation happens when tiny particles move faster than light does in water. This seems strange because nothing should be able to go faster than light. But in water, light slows down a lot, while other particles keep their speed.
These fast-moving particles shake up the atoms in water, which release light to balance things out. This is sort of like the big boom you hear when something travels faster than sound. The light released has a lot of energy and looks blue to our eyes.
In nuclear fusion, the glow happens when a special type of atom called hydrogen grabs a particle called a neutron and then releases a powerful type of light called gamma rays. These gamma rays hit another tiny particle called an electron, making it go super fast, almost as fast as light.