This Exploratory Topic would enable state-of-the-art diagnostic measurements to be made on potentially transformative, ARPA-E-supported fusion-energy concepts in order to validate their performance, uncover problems, and guide research priorities.  The selections seek to develop plasma diagnostic systems that can be transported to and shared among different fusion experiments, leveraging the diagnostic expertise of the entire fusion R&D community, and to develop the teams and experience necessary to support an expanding role for public/private partnerships in fusion. 

Fusion technology has been pursued for decades as an ideal power source with abundant fuel, effectively zero emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, and minimal proliferation risk. Early-stage fusion experiments like those supported by ARPA-E can broadly benefit from state-of-the-art diagnostic systems and measurements, which often cost as much as or more than the experiment itself, and thus typically such experiments and projects teams do not have access to the types of measurements this Exploratory Topic will enable.

Related Program(s)

Projects funded within this Exploratory Topic support teams selected under the following ARPA-E Programs:

Accelerating Low-Cost Plasma Heating and Assembly (ALPHA)

Breakthroughs Enabling THermonuclear-fusion Energy (BETHE)

OPEN 2018 (Fusion "Cohort")

Annual Review Meeting

ARPA-E held the first annual review meeting of the Fusion Diagnostics Exploratory Topic on March 5, 2021. The meeting page contains information on this meeting, including a full agenda and presentation slides from meeting participants.

Additional Information

Teams in this Exploratory Topic also support the INFUSE program of the Department of Energy's Fusion Energy Sciences and member companies of the Fusion Industry Association.

 

Projects Funded Within This Exploratory Topic


CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

X-RAY IMAGING AND ASSESSMENT OF NON-PERTURBING MAGNETIC DIAGNOSTICS FOR INTERMEDIATE-DENSITY FUSION EXPERIMENTS

Support design, operation, and data analysis for a transportable Thomson scattering diagnostic to provide a direct measurement of the temperature and density of magnetized inertial fusion experiments. The system will measure the electron density and temperature and so confirm whether experiments have reached fusion-relevant parameters.

Download the Caltech "trading card" to learn more information about this project.


LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY

ABSOLUTE NEUTRON RATE MEASUREMENT AND NON-THERMAL/THERMONUCLEAR FUSION DIFFERENTIATION

Design, build and operate a robust, portable neutron detection system that will serve as a powerful diagnostic tool in support of efforts to transform fusion energy. The tool’s design will allow for a flexible and mobile experimental setup, enabling it to provide effective, expertly calibrated, diagnostic measurements at multiple fusion facilities.

Download the LLNL "trading card" to learn more information about this project.


LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY

PORTABLE SOFT X-RAY DIAGNOSTICS FOR TRANSFORMATIVE FUSION-ENERGY CONCEPTS

Develop a portable suite of soft x-ray diagnostics to characterize the performance of a number of fusion energy concepts. The tool will estimate core electron temperature, and use time resolved spectroscopy to monitor the time evolution of experimental fusion plasmas. With the use of a framing camera, the team also expects to be able to identify hot regions and structures in the plasma.

Download the LANL "trading card" to learn more information about this project.


OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY

A PORTABLE DIAGNOSTIC PACKAGE FOR SPECTROSCOPIC MEASUREMENT OF KEY PLASMA PARAMETERS IN TRANSFORMATIVE FUSION ENERGY DEVICES

Assemble a portable diagnostic package to make measurements of key plasma parameters, including electron temperature. Unprecedented diagnostic portability will be achieved through innovative use of off-the-shelf components and specialized, highly portable lasers. This portable diagnostic package will be capable of providing radial profiles of electron density and temperature as well as radial profiles of ion density, temperature, and flow velocity on a variety of fusion energy devices.

Download the ORNL "trading card" to learn more information about this project.


UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER

LLE DIAGNOSTIC RESOURCE TEAM FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF INNOVATIVE FUSION CONCEPTS

Form a diagnostic team to provide travelling neutron diagnostics including calibrations, analysis techniques, and expert consultants to fusion projects. Neutron time-of-flight (nTOF) detectors will be deployed to multiple fusion projects, providing calibrated, expert measurement of plasma properties.

Download the University of Rochester "trading card" to learn more information about this project.


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS

ELECTRON DENSITY PROFILE MEASUREMENTS USING USPR

Fabricate an ultrashort pulse reflectometer (USPR) diagnostic instrument for electron density profile measurements on compact, short duration, magnetically-confined fusion-energy concept device. Central to the system is a field programmable gate array based controller which will collect and process all of the USPR data in addition to generating all of the control signals needed for maximum flexibility.

Download the UC Davis "trading card" to learn more information about this project.


LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY

A PORTABLE OPTICAL THOMSON SCATTERING SYSTEM

Implement an optical Thomson scattering diagnostic to measure electron density and temperature, as well as ion temperature. This approach could transform the understanding of the underlying physics of each fusion concept by providing local, time resolved measurements of plasma conditions.

Download the LLNL "trading card" to learn more information about this project.


PRINCETON PLASMA PHYSICS LABORATORY

A PORTABLE ENERGY DIAGNOSTIC FOR TRANSFORMATIVE ARPA-E FUSION ENERGY R&D

Build and calibrate a portable diagnostic for measuring ion energies in potentially transformative fusion-power projects. This portable passive charge-exchange stripping-cell ion energy analyzer (SC-IEA), will feature lightweight design, due to modern vacuum equipment and controls. The SC-IEA will measure ion temperature and the ion energy distribution function (IEDF)--understanding and controlling the IEDF is critical to achieving fusion energy.

Download the PPPL "trading card" to learn more information about this project.