PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Personnel at the Phebus laser fusion installation at Limeil-Valenton, France, work through protective glove boxes to scour a metal component with high-pressure freon (fluorocarbon) jets. Phebus is dedicated to studying the initiation of thermonuclear fusion reactions by laser implosion. The power of the laser beams that converge on and confine a small target is such that the conditions of pressure, temperature and speed necessary to initiate thermonuclear fusion are achieved. The first observations of the release of thermonuclear neutrons produced by laser implosion were made at Limeil-Valenton in 1969. Construction of Phebus was completed in December 1985.
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