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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Heavy Ion Fusion Program in the U.S.A.

  • Author(s): Bangerter, R.O.
  • Davidson, R.C.
  • Herrmannsfeldt, W.B.
  • Lindl, J.D.
  • Logan, B.G.
  • Meier, W.R.
  • et al.

Inertial fusion energy research has enjoyed increased interest and funding. This has allowed expanded programs in target design, target fabrication, fusion chamber research, target injection and tracking, and accelerator research. The target design effort examines ways to minimize the beam power and energy and increase the allowable focal spot size while preserving target gain. Chamber research for heavy ion fusion emphasizes the use of thick liquid walls to serve as the coolant, breed tritium, and protect the structural wall from neutrons, photons, and other target products. Several small facilities are now operating to model fluid chamber dynamics. A facility to study target injection and tracking has been built and a second facility is being designed. Improved economics is an important goal of the accelerator research. The accelerator research is also directed toward the design of an Integrated Research Experiment (IRE). The IRE is being designed to accelerate ions to >100 MeV, enabling experiments in beam dynamics, focusing, and target physics. Activities leading to the IRE include ion source development and a High Current Experiment (HCX) designed to transport and accelerate a single beam of ions with a beam current of approximately 1 A, the initial current required for each beam of a fusion driver. In terms of theory, the program is developing a source-to-target numerical simulation capability. The goal of the entire program is to enable an informed decision about the promise of heavy ion fusion in about a decade.

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