Green Initiatives: Z Machine -- World's Largest X-Ray Generator

Scientists hope to develop clean nuclear fusion technology.

by / January 30, 2009

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

Chad Vander Veen previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.

Platforms & Programs