Big Picture_Feb 09 Big Picture_Feb 09

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., are taking the idea of alternative energy to new extremes using the Z Machine -- the world's largest X-ray generator. The Z Machine's purpose is to produce temperatures that exceed those of the hottest stars in the universe. To do this, the machine discharges a magnetic field and an electrical current across a steel wire mesh. This produces, albeit for only fractions of a second, plasma that has reached 6.6 billion degrees Fahrenheit, which in turn generates X-rays. Scientists hope this energy can be used to develop clean nuclear fusion technology.

 

Chad Vander Veen  |  Associate Editor