A Portable Ion-Energy Diagnostic for Transformative ARPA-E Fusion Energy R&D

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Exploratory Topics
Plainsboro Township, New Jersey
Project Term:
10/01/2019 - 12/31/2021

Critical Need:

This topic would enable state-of-the-art diagnostic measurements to be made on potentially transformative, ARPA-E-supported fusion-energy concepts in order to validate their performance, uncover problems, and guide research priorities. The selections seek to develop plasma diagnostic systems that can be transported to and shared among different fusion experiments, leveraging the diagnostic expertise of the entire fusion R&D community, and to develop the teams and experience necessary to support an expanding role for public/private partnerships in fusion. Fusion technology has been pursued for decades as an ideal power source with abundant fuel, effectively zero emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, and minimal proliferation risk. Early-stage fusion experiments like those supported by ARPA-E can broadly benefit from state-of-the-art diagnostic systems and measurements, which often cost as much as or more than the experiment itself, and thus typically such experiments and projects teams do not have access to the types of measurements this program will enable.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Build and calibrate a portable diagnostic for measuring ion energies in potentially transformative fusion-power projects. The passive charge-exchange stripping-cell ion energy analyzer (SC-IEA), will have the sensitivity to measure ion temperatures from ½ to 30 M°C, unraveling processes in these research devices that heat and cool their fusion-relevant plasmas.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Scott Hsu
Project Contact:
Dr. Samuel Cohen
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Princeton University

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