Portable Neutron and Soft X-Ray Diagnostics for Transformative Fusion-Energy Concepts

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Exploratory Topics
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Project Term:
11/01/2019 - 09/30/2023

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:

Develop a portable suite of proven, absolutely calibrated neutron and soft x-ray diagnostics to characterize the performance of a number of fusion energy concepts. The tool will be able to determine neutron yields as low as 105 neutrons per pulse, identify hot regions and structures in the plasma, and make estimates of the core plasma electron temperature.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Robert Ledoux
Project Contact:
Glen Wurden
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of Nevada: Reno

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