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A 200 km/s Plasma Accelerator for Magneto-Inertial Fusion and for Refueling Magnetic Fusion Energy Systems

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-04ER83978
Agency Tracking Number: 75823S04-I
Amount: $652,500.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 01 d
Solicitation Number: DOE/SC-0072
Solicitation Year: 2004
Award Year: 2005
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
11316 Smoke Rise Court
Fairfax Station, VA 22039
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 F. Douglas Witherspoon
 (703) 250-3689
Business Contact
 F. Douglas Witherspoon
Title: Dr.
Phone: (703) 250-3689
Research Institution

75823S In magneto-inertial Fusion, which offers the promise of a faster, lower cost path to fusion energy, a material liner is imploded to compress a magnetized target plasma to fusion conditions. In one approach, plasma-jet-driven magneto-inertial fusion, an array of pulsed plasma guns is utilized to create a spherically imploding shell of very high velocity, high momentum flux plasma. This approach requires the development of plasma accelerators capable of achieving velocities of 200 km/s, with very precise timing and density profiles. This project will investigate a new coaxial plasma accelerator configuration, which will allow the acceleration of high density collisional plasmas to velocities of 200 km/s. To control and prevent the formation of deleterious instabilities, such as the blowby instability, a specialized plasma injection system will be developed. In Phase I, magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) modeling, using the AFRL Mach 2 code, was used to confirm the concept. An additional geometrical configuration of the coaxial electrode profiles, which can achieve the required mass and velocity parameters, was identified. Experimental hardware for a Phase II experiment was designed, and preliminary experimental tests demonstrated the successful operation of the plasma injector hardware design. In Phase II, the plasma injector and associated accelerator hardware will be built, followed by an experimental demonstration. MHD computational modeling and code benchmarking will be performed, using the experimental data, to establish a scientific database for high velocity, high momentum flux plasma jets. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The plasma jets should be useful for developing commercial fusion power, refueling magnetically confined plasma, high specific impulse plasma thrusters for space, laboratory simulations of astrophysical jets, ultrafast high current switches for pulsed power applications, and materials processing.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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