Science from the Center of the Earth to Black Holes
The Z machine is located in Albuquerque, N.M., and is part of the Pulsed Power Program, which started at Sandia National Laboratories back in the 1960s. Pulsed power is a technology that concentrates electrical energy and turns it into short pulses of enormous power, which are then used to generate X-rays and gamma rays.
Z provides the fastest, most accurate, and cheapest method to determine how materials will react under high pressures and temperatures, characteristics that can then be expressed in formulas called “equations of state.”
The importance of Z in solving the world’s energy challenges is directly connected to its potential in the realm of fusion. Inertial confinement fusion for peaceful production of electricity is of interest to Sandia’s Pulsed Power Sciences.
In order to fuse the atoms, the force that repels them as they come together must be overcome. Accelerators accomplish this by forcing molecules to collide with one another at very high temperatures.