For laser fusion, high-precision optics in the 192 laser beams are crucial. The material has high purity and therefore offers excellent optical qualities. In addition,
has the required high transmittance and low absorption in the ultraviolet light spectrum.
"With our fused silica raw material for such laser systems, we are making a substantial contribution to a new, sustainable way of generating clean energy and closing the supply gap that remains with renewable energies", explains Dr. Frank Nürnberg, Global Head of Sales Optics at Heraeus Conamic.
Heraeus supplies research facilities in Europe, the USA, and China with fused silica for laser optics - including NIF. The promising results are causing more and more start-ups to form to commercialize fusion energy. In Germany, Heraeus is in contact with the Darmstadt-based climate tech start-up Focused Energy, among others, to help in the realization of the first prototype in the next few years and have the first commercial laser-based fusion power plant up and running by 2040 at the latest. Until then, a lot of fine-tuning still needs to be done in the fusion reactors. According to Frank Nürnberg, the efficiency is a particular focus: "The efficiency of energy generation describes the ratio of the energy required for the system in the form of electricity and the energy generated by nuclear fusion and converted into electricity. If scientists can maximize this efficiency, then laser fusion would have very great potential to close the energy gap or even replace other energy sources." The next 20 years in nuclear fusion research promise to be interesting.