PHOTO OF THE WEEK
A new accelerator -- the NDCX-II -- has been designed to study an alternate approach to inertial fusion energy. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

An Alternate Approach to Inertial Fusion Energy

A new accelerator -- the NDCX-II, shown above -- has been designed to study an alternate approach to inertial fusion energy. (In an Inertial Fusion Energy Power Plant, 10 to 20 pulses of fusion energy per second heat a low-activation coolant, such as lithium-bearing liquid metals or molten salts, surrounding the fusion targets, according to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The coolant transfers the fusion heat to a turbine and generator to produce electricity.)

The Department of Energy's Heavy Ion Fusion Science Virtual National Laboratory (HIFS-VNL) -- whose member institutions include LLNL, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory -- recently completed the NDCX-II, which is a compact machine designed "to produce a high-quality, dense beam that can rapidly deliver a powerful punch to a solid target," LLNL reported.

Research with NDCX-II will introduce advances in the acceleration, compression and focusing of intense ion beams that can inform and guide the design of major components for heavy-ion fusion energy production.

Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory