Plasma oscillation has fusion energy implications

March 20, 2024, 3:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York and the University of California–San Diego have published a paper in Physical Review Letters describing a previously unknown class of plasma oscillations. In “Space-Time Structured Plasma Waves,” the researchers “demonstrate that electrostatic wave packets structured with space-time correlations can have properties that are independent of the plasma conditions,” such as “density, temperature, ionization state, or details of the distribution functions.” This finding is technologically relevant, the authors note, because “electrostatic waves play a critical role in nearly every branch of plasma physics from fusion to advanced accelerators, to astro, solar, and ionospheric physics.”

Three new inertial fusion energy hubs have distinct, laser-focused missions

December 14, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News
STARFIRE is the name of an inertial fusion energy hub led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory—one of three hubs announced in early December. (Image: LLNL)

The Department of Energy recently announced that it was establishing three inertial fusion energy (IFE) hubs and funding them with a total of $42 million over four years. The leaders of the three hubs selected by competitive peer review—Colorado State University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the University of Rochester—all issued press releases touting the attributes and plans of their facilities and their research collaborators on the same day—December 7.

University of Rochester aims for mass production of inertial fusion energy targets

July 18, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
A view through the 20-cm disk amplifiers of the OMEGA laser at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics. (Photo: University of Rochester/J. Adam Fenster)

Proponents of inertial fusion energy celebrated in December 2022, when researchers at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved fusion ignition by subjecting a carefully crafted diamond cryogenic sphere containing frozen deuterium-tritium fuel to NIF’s laser energy. NIF has yet to repeat the feat, in part because that facility was not designed to produce fusion energy, and ignition requires near-perfect targets. For inertial fusion energy to serve as a reliable power source, it will require swift, reliable, and economic target production.

Ten private fusion companies get national lab and university access from INFUSE

July 7, 2022, 3:07PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy announced awards for 18 Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE) projects on July 6 that link private fusion energy developers with DOE national laboratories (and, in a first for the program, with U.S. universities) to overcome scientific and technological challenges in fusion energy development. The 18 selected projects include representation from 10 private companies, three national labs, and eight universities.