JANESVILLE, Wis., August 3, 2023 – SHINE Technologies, LLC, a next-generation fusion technology company, today announced it has demonstrated clearly visible Cherenkov radiation produced by fusion for what is believed to be the first time in history.
Historically, fusion has been demonstrated and detected with instruments instead of a visible light.
This fusion-driven Cherenkov radiation effect is a result of deuterium-tritium fusion operations on SHINE’s main campus, supporting the launch of the company’s FLARE (Fusion Linear Accelerator for Radiation Effects) service, and ultimately supporting its isotope production process. The target chamber of SHINE’s fusion system is submerged underwater, allowing for the generation of visible Cherenkov radiation.
“The Cherenkov radiation effect produced here was bright enough to be visible, which means there’s a lot of fusion happening, about 50 trillion fusions per second. At a billion fusions per second, you might have measurable Cherenkov radiation but not visible amounts,” said Gerald Kulcinski, Grainger Professor of Nuclear Engineering-Emeritus and Director of Fusion Technology-Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “These results are powerful evidence of nuclear processes at play and further proof that fusion can produce neutrons on par with some reactors.”
Cherenkov radiation is a form of energy that emits a blue glow when charged particles move faster than the speed of light in a specific medium like water. Light travels at about 75% of its normal speed when in water, and particles moving faster than this form a shock wave as they slow down, releasing energy that creates the blue glow. Fission reactors are well known for producing this radiation, which is a normal occurrence within reactors that supply nearly 20% of the electricity in the United States. In the case of fusion, the fast charged particles are believed to be created when hydrogen absorbs a neutron and emits a high energy gamma ray that then strikes an electron, accelerating it to near the speed of light.
“Fusion has long captured the imagination of scientists and the public. To be able create visual evidence of fusion is just really cool,” said Greg Piefer, founder and CEO of SHINE. “This visible demonstration of fusion is proof that we are able to produce enough reactivity for some commercial applications historically served by reactors, and clearly demonstrates the next step in our multi-phased approach to ultimately commercialize fusion energy.”
SHINE is industrializing and scaling fusion technology in a four-phased approach to solve important societal problems on the way to achieving safe, clean, abundant fusion energy. Its current fusion system bolsters the first phase of inspecting industrial components and will be critical in the second phase of producing medical isotopes. SHINE plans to deploy eight such fusion systems inside of The Chrysalis, its fusion-driven neutron production facility, as part of a project supported by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. SHINE plans to continue iterating and scaling its technology to recycle nuclear waste and generate fusion power.
“Congratulations to SHINE on reaching a milestone moment in their goal to use a fusion-driven device to produce life-saving medical isotopes,” said Craig Piercy, CEO of the American Nuclear Society. “Seeing the Cherenkov radiation produced by SHINE’s fusion-driven device is exciting progress in the advancement of fusion technology. Getting in-the-field data and reaching these milestones will help prove the long-term potential of fusion energy.”
About SHINE Technologies
Based in Janesville, Wisconsin, SHINE deploys its safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly fusion technology in a stepwise approach. Its systems are used to inspect industrial components in aerospace, defense, energy and other sectors. SHINE’s proprietary medical isotope production processes create non-carrier-added lutetium-177 and are expected to create molybdenum-99. In the future, SHINE plans to scale its fusion technology to help solve one of energy’s toughest hurdles by recycling nuclear waste. Through a purpose-driven and phased approach, SHINE aims to generate fusion power to deliver clean, abundant energy that could transform life on Earth. Want to learn more about SHINE? Visit www.shinefusion.com and follow us @shinefusion.