Nuclear fusion: what material can contain a star on Earth?

Nuclear fusion as a source of energy for stars was described in the 1920s. Since then, scientists have dreamed of reproducing this process in a controlled way.

To generate energy by fusion is to emulate what the Sun does, but on Earth, and inside a container. One of the bottlenecks to achieve this is the design of this vessel, and more precisely, to find the materials that will be able to contain nothing less than a star.

Materials that do not yet exist

At present, nothing can withstand the extreme conditions of irradiation and temperature created inside the walls of a nuclear fusion reactor, and we face technical limitations to characterize materials that do not yet exist. So we have to invent them and, to find out if they work, test them.

To characterize them, we need experimental facilities to see how they behave under irradiation conditions similar to those expected in a fusion reactor. That is the goal of macro projects such as the IFMIF-DONES (International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility) that is underway…

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