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The technique of heating the plasma in magnetically confined fusion devices by the injection of intense beams of neutral atoms is described. The basic principles governing the physics of neutral beam heating and cosiderations involved in determining the injection energy, power, and pulse length required for a fusion reactor are discussed. The pertinent experimental results from various fusion devices are surveyed to illustrate the efficacy of this technique. The second part of the paper is devoted to the technology of producing the neutral beams. A state-of-the-art account of the development of neutral injectors is presented, and the prospects for utilizing neutral injection to heat the plasma in a fusion reactor are examined.