This UK Startup Has Broken A Nuclear Fusion Record With Its New Gun-Like Tech

A UK company called First Light Fusion has made a big breakthrough in nuclear fusion technology. They set a new record by reaching a pressure of 1.85 terapascals. This new effort beats the long-held record of 1.5 terapascals, and took place at the Sandia National Laboratories in the USA on a machine called the “Z Machine.”

The success at Sandia National Laboratories further solidifies First Light Fusion’s partnership with the institution and bolsters its development of an amplifier-based approach to inertial fusion. This breakthrough is seen as a testament to the viability of First Light’s unique technology, which the company believes can be applied not only in its current setting but also across other platforms.

Unlike other fusion companies, First Light Fusion focuses on inertial confinement fusion, employing a method akin to the mechanics behind the first atomic bombs but in a controlled manner to generate stable fusion reactions. This approach eliminates the need for complex and expensive lasers or magnets, making it simpler, cheaper, and more energy-efficient.

“The experiment deepens First Light’s ongoing partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, and helps the UK fusion leader to continue developing its unique amplifier approach to inertial fusion,” First Light Fusion explains.

First Light Fusion said, “This differs from approaches pursued by other mainstream fusion companies in that it doesn’t involve using complex, energy-intensive, expensive lasers or magnets.”

They added, “Without the need for hugely complex and expensive lasers to facilitate the fusion reaction, this is a simpler, cheaper, more energy-efficient approach to achieving fusion with lower physics risk.”

First Light Fusion’s amplifier technology enhances the pressure generated by projectile impact, a crucial factor for initiating fusion reactions. The testing of this technology was conducted at Sandia’s “Z Machine,” renowned as the world’s most potent pulsed power facility, boasting a peak power of 80 trillion watts.

The “Z Machine” utilizes electromagnetic force to propel projectiles at velocities exceeding those of any other facility globally. These projectiles exert pressure on material samples, allowing for the examination of their properties under extreme conditions.

First Light Fusion’s CEO, Nick Hawker, expressed delight at the successful outcome, emphasizing the significance of breaking the pressure record at the “Z Machine.” The achievement underscores the company’s optimism and determination to advance fusion technology, which holds immense promise for providing clean, abundant energy.

“With a peak power of 80 trillion watts, more than the world’s entire electricity grid, it electromagnetically launches projectiles to higher velocities than any other facility in the world,” explained First Light Fusion. These devices apply pressure on material samples, allowing for examining their properties under extreme conditions.

“We are delighted to report that our first shot on the Z Machine was a resounding success – breaking the pressure record for the facility,” explained Nick Hawker, Founder and CEO of First Light Fusion.

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