Inertial Confinement Fusion

The inertial confinement fusion principle attempts to compress a small deuterium-tritium pellet to the density and temperature required for fusion ignition in its center. The reaction will then take place before the pellet remnants are blown apart, so the fusion plasma is held together by only its own inertia. There are two means of inertial confinement fusion. Direct drive, in which laser beams fall on the surface of the pellet, and indirect drive, in which laser beams generate strong X-ray radiation inside a cavity (hohlraum), and the X-rays compress the pellet. In December 2022, the laser-driven fusion facility NIF reached ignition, producing fifty percent more energy than was inserted.