Fusion is the ultimate source of the universe’s energy and is the same process that powers stars, including the Sun. The goal of the First Light Fusion team is to not only devise a strategy for how to make fusion energy work in practice, but also to develop a sustainable business model based on the technology. While the physics of fusion are relatively simple, it’s incredibly challenging to replicate the massive pressures and temperatures required while keeping generation costs at an economically viable level.
The company’s approach is to achieve inertial fusion by using shockwaves. It was inspired by the only example of inertial confinement found on Earth – the pistol shrimp, which clicks its claw to produce a shockwave that stuns its prey. The water around its claw forms a cavity, and the air and water inside is super-heated to form a plasma. This process is known as inertial confinement, a natural phenomenon only otherwise seen in supernovas.
In its quest to replicate the pistol shrimp’s shockwaves and collapse targets to achieve inertial confinement of plasma, First Light Fusion devised a pulsed power device, known as Machine 3.
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