Transportable Thomson Scattering Diagnostic for Measuring Density and Temperature in Fusion-Relevant Magnetized Inertial Fusion Plasmas

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Special Projects
Project Term:
10/21/2019 - 10/20/2021

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:

Construct and operate a transportable Thomson scattering diagnostic that will provide a direct measurement of the temperature and density of magnetized inertial fusion experiments. The system will then be operated to measure the electron density and temperature and so confirm whether experiments have reached fusion-relevant parameters.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Scott Hsu
Project Contact:
Dr. Paul Bellan
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