Plasma Liners and the Potential for a Standoff Magneto-Inertial Fusion Reactor

This is the Power Point presentation given by Dr. Scott C. Hsu of the Los Alamos National Laboratories, NM at the ARPA-E Fusion Workshop in Berkeley, CA, in 2013. It explains what a Standoff Magneto-Inertial Fusion Reactor is, how it would work, what are the advantages of that design, what the design and maintenance challenges are, and what the cost and timeline is expected to be for this type of fusion reactor to be ready for commercial use.

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Standoff embodiment of MIF avoids destroying significant mass per shot
– Allows for higher repetition rate, cheaper and faster R&D development path, simpler reactor engineering, and better power-plant economics
– More attractive & plausible to potential sponsors/investors
Plasma liner driven MIF has many attractive features:
– Higher implosion velocity than most liner-driven approaches
– Potential for liner profile shaping and multi-layered structure
– Magnetized target could be formed separately or in situ (more options for risk mitigation)
– Many possible sources could potentially be used to form imploding plasma liners (can benefit from transformative new technologies)
– Potential compatibility with thick liquid wall or presently available plasma-facingcomponent (PFC) materials (avoids multi-$B, multi-decadal material development effort ßserious Achilles heel of fusion energy development)
– Plasma guns are economic candidate sources with many possible technological
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Acknowledgement: collaborators on the multiinstitutional
Plasma Liner Experiment (PLX)

project formerly funded by DOE-OFES

  • LANL: A. Moser, E. Merritt, T. Awe, J. Dunn, C. Adams, J. Davis and many student interns
  • HyperV Technologies: F. D. Witherspoon, S. Brockington, S. Messer, A. Case, D. van Doren
  • UAHuntsville: J. Cassibry, M. Stanic
  • Univ. New Mexico: M. Gilmore, A. Lynn
  • Many others at Voss Scientific, Prism Computational Sciences, Tech-X, FAR-TECH
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1. Y. C. F. Thio et al., “Magnetized Target Fusion in a Spheroidal Geometry with Standoff Drivers,” in Current Trends in International Fusion Research–
Proceedings of the Second International Symposium, edited by E. Panarella (NRC Canada, Ottawa, 1999), p. 113.
2. J. T. Cassibry et al., “Estimates of confinement time and energy gain for plasma liner driven magnetoinertial fusion using an analytic self-similar
converging shock model,” Phys. Plasmas 16, 112707 (2009).
3. T. J. Awe et al., “One-dimensional radiation-hydrodynamic scaling studies of imploding spherical plasma liners,” Phys. Plasmas 18, 072705 (2011).
4. S. C. Hsu et al., “Spherically Imploding Plasma Liners as a Standoff Driver for Magnetoinertial Fusion,” IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. 40, 1287 (2012).
5. J. Santarius, “Compression of a spherically symmetric deuterium-tritium plasma liner onto a magnetized deuterium-tritium target,” Phys. Plasmas 19,
072705 (2012).
6. J. S. Davis et al., “One-dimensional radiation-hydrodynamic simulations of imploding spherical plasma liners with detailed equation-of-state
modeling,” Phys. Plasmas 19, 102701 (2012).
7. I. R. Lindemuth and R. E. Siemon, “The fundamental parameter space of controlled thermonuclear fusion,” Amer. J. Phys. 77, 409 (2009).
8. Y. C. F. Thio, manuscript in preparation.
9. S. C. Hsu et al., “Experimental characterization of railgun-driven supersonic plasma jets motivated by high energy density physics applications,”
Phys. Plasmas 19, 123514 (2012).
10. J. T. Cassibry et al., “Tendency of spherically imploding plasma liners formed by merging plasma jets to evolve toward spherical symmetry,” Phys.
Plasmas 19, 052702 (2012).
11. J. T. Cassibry, M. Stanic, and S. C. Hsu, “Ideal hydrodynamic scaling relations for a stagnated imploding spherical plasma liner formed by an array of
merging plasma jets,” Phys. Plasmas 20, 032706 (2013).
12. F. D. Witherspoon et al., “A contoured gap coaxial plasma gun with injected plasma armature,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 80, 083506 (2009).
13. D. Weidenheimer et al., “Scaled-up LGPT (laser gated and pumped thyristor) devices at KrF IFE operating parameters,” in Conf. Rec. 27th Int. Power
Modulator Symposium, 2006, pp. 201–206.
14. P. M. Bardet et al., “Liquid vortex shielding for fusion energy applications,” Fusion Sci. Tech. 47, 1192 (2005)


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