First results of an upgraded device highlight lithium’s value for producing fusion
Lithium, the silvery metal that powers smart phones and helps treat bipolar disorders, could also play a significant role in the worldwide effort to harvest on Earth the safe, clean and virtually limitless fusion energy that powers the sun and stars. First results of the extensively upgraded Lithium Tokamak Experiment-Beta (LTX-β) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), demonstrate that the major enhancements operate as designed and improve the performance of the hot, charged plasma that will fuel future fusion reactors.
Fusion reactions combine light elements in the form of plasma—the state of matter composed of free electrons and atomic nuclei that makes up 99% of the visible universe—to release enormous amounts of energy. Physicists around the world are seeking to duplicate and control fusion reactions to create boundless safe, carbon-free power to generate electricity.