National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, US have achieved net energy gain in a fusion reaction for the first time.

Schott helped reach this new milestone in laser fusion research, by supplying the world’s biggest laser at NIF with laser glass and other critical optical glass components for its research.

For over half a century, scientists have tried to recreate the fusion reactions that power the sun.

Their challenge has been generating more energy than a fusion reaction itself consumes.

For the first time, NIF has now reached this major milestone, known as net energy gain.

Last week, NIF’s experiment delivered 2.05 megajoules (MJ) of energy to the target, resulting in 3.15 MJ of fusion energy output.

The result was ignition, as well as modest net energy gain. Scientists believe this technology could one day help generate commercial-scale power.

Bill James, Head of Research and Development for Schott North America, said: “Our optics teams are very excited about this achievement. We’ve been working toward this for decades, solving problems that seemed unsolvable. We’re looking forward to continuing to deliver perfect optical glass solutions as part of our commitment to developing clean power solutions.”

Schott supplies laser glass and optical glass for all relevant parts of NIFs high energy laser used for its groundbreaking research.

Besides advanced laser glass, this includes fused silica, Borofloat debris shields, N-BK7 polarizers and turning mirror substrates, blast shields between flashlamps and the laser slabs, and specialty filters.

Schott glass products supplied to NIF are manufactured and processed in Duryea, Pennsylvania, US.