Lawrence Livermore's National Ignition Facility (NIF) recently focused all 192 of its ultra-powerful laser beams on a tiny deuterium-tritium filled capsule. In the nanoseconds that followed, the capsule imploded and released a neutron yield of nearly 3x1015, or approximately 8,000 joules of neutron energy – approximately three times NIF's previous neutron yield record for cryogenic implosions.
The primary mission of NIF is to provide experimental insight and data for NNSA's science-based stockpile stewardship program. The experiment attained conditions not observed since the days of underground nuclear weapons testing and represents an important milestone in the continuing demonstration that the stockpile can be kept safe, secure and reliable without a return to testing.
About the photo:
The preamplifiers of the National Ignition Facility are the first step in increasing the energy of laser beams as they make their way toward the target chamber.