Fusion in the Lab
Fusion may be achieved in the laboratory by the magnetic confinement approach or the inertial confinement approach. In magnetic confinement, one uses external and self generated magnetic fields to hold the plasma at relatively low densities away from material walls for time periods of the order of a few seconds. In the inertial fusion approach, one achieves fusion by compressing a solid fuel pellet to very high densities by bombarding it with an inertial fusion driver like lasers, heavy ion beams etc. Over the last decade, fusion experiments have taken enormous strides towards the goal of energy production from fusion. New parameter regimes for optimized operation of fusion plants based on an improved understanding of the physics of confined plasmas have been discovered.