Originally posted by adam warlock
In terms of statistical dynamics pressure and temperature are intimately related.
You see temperature comes about as a result of movement of composing particles of a given material and the pressure comes from the shocks of the material composing particles and its container walls. Now this shock only come to happen if the composing particles are in movement.
AND held away from any container walls by magnetic forces in this case. Lasers can be used, there is a device called NOVA that focuses 192 incredibly powerful lasers at a cylinder the size of a BB or a grain of rice. The timing has to be exquisitely accurate to pull this all off but you drop that grain of rice sized container and when it reaches that exact place, the lasers all fire off and makes in implosion of the container that squishes some hydrogen into helium, releasing a huge amount of energy, hopefully more than you invested in the laser assembly which is not trivial. In the device by Lockheed, lasers could do a bit of work but not the heavy hitting of the NOVA which by brute force causes fusion. Take a look at this link and you can see a photo of the laser amplifier tubes in NOVA:
Or this Wiki, the photo better shows the scale of that beast, there is a person in there:
In the magnetic confinement fusion research one stumbling block is the instability of the magnetic fields that confine the plasma. It only is good for a few seconds maximum ATT and needs to be stable for hours on end to make useful energy, that is, making at LEAST 20 times the energy it takes for all the peripheral machines that do the work. "Breakeven" is not even close to a real reactor, that point at which you use up say 100 megawatts and generate 100 megawatts. That leaves you with zero exportable energy. So you jam in 100 megawatts you better get out 2 GIGAwatts or the whole system is a bust.
You can see by the size of the NOVA lasers it would never be used in a machine as small as the Lockheed one aims to be. They want to put that device on the back of a semi or in a large boat or maybe an aircraft or spacecraft and you certainly won't with the laser inertial fusion project.
You need both ultra high temperatures, higher pressures (plasma density), plasma purity, confinement times all working together to make that kind of energy and we are far from all those things coming together at this point in time.
That is why the Lockheed device looks so promising, it can beat the big boys to the punch MAYBE.