"Perfection Is Really Hard"
Michael Stadermann speaking to the press at last week's announcement of the fusion energy breakthrough achieved at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The level of penultimate-perfection that Stadermann and his colleagues achieve with each spherical diamond fuel capsule that they deliver is mind bending. A hollow shell crafted from the hardest material known to humankind, measuring two millimeters in diameter, near perfectly round, and polished 100x smoother than the surface of a mirror, filled with fuel through a tube that is a mere 2 microns wide.
Somewhat heartening for Stadermann and his team, I'm sure, is that the weight of future progress in this particular branch of fusion technology does not lie squarely on their shoulders. Encouragingly, the system design iterations and laser upgrades detailed by Annie Kritcher and Jean-Michel Di Nicola, to improve the symmetry of the implosion, made this milestone achievement in December of 2022 possible with a fuel capsule that had more tungsten inclusions—and was therefore less perfect—than the fuel capsule produced for the fusion trial in August of 2021.