The Optics Behind Laser Fusion

Tayyab Suratwala

OPN talks with Tayyab Suratwala of the US National Ignition Facility.

Target chamberThe target chamber of the National Ignition Facility, where the first fusion ignition was demonstrated on 5 December 2022. [Courtesy of LLNL]

In December 2022, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), USA, reported the first demonstration of fusion ignition—the production of more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive the reaction. That result stemmed in no small part from remarkable advances in optical technology since ground was first broken on NIF in the mid-1990s. To learn more, OPN talked with Tayyab Suratwala, NIF’s program director for Optics and Materials Science and Technology. (This interview has been edited for length; read the full Q&A at

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Publish Date: 01 February 2023

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