Various methods for accelerating targets to be injected into an Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE) power plant have been considered such as gas gun, rail gun and electromagnetic induction. One method that could also be used for direct drive targets is electrostatic acceleration.

We have been using electrostatic steering to improve target placement accuracy. We optically track the motion of a charged target, and feed back appropriate steering voltage to four steering electrodes. We have also completed fabrication and begun testing of an electrostatic accelerator that advances the electric field each time the charged target passes one of the 96 accelerating electrodes. Many of the accelerating electrodes are segmented to allow transverse position correction based on transverse position measurements during the acceleration process. Calculations indicate that this "first step" accelerator will achieve 10-15 m/s target velocity in 0.9 m with ±4 kV accelerating voltage. Updated target steering results as well as the accelerator design, fabrication, and early experimental results are presented.