The Argon Fluoride Laser as an Enabler for Low Cost Inertial Fusion Energy

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Washington, District Of Columbia
Project Term:
09/10/2020 - 09/09/2023

Technology Description:

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) will advance the science and technologies of the electron-beam-pumped argon fluoride (ArF) laser as a potential method of improving laser-target coupling, a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for advancing low-cost inertial fusion energy (IFE). ArF’s deep UV light and capability to provide a wider bandwidth than other laser drivers improves the laser-target coupling efficiency and enables high gain at driver energies below 1 MJ. The ArF technology will use solid-state pulsed power and similar electron-beam pumping used by krypton fluoride lasers to achieve record-setting “wall-plug” efficiencies for deep UV lasers. These advantages could enable the development of smaller and lower-cost IFE power-plant modules. These factors could drastically change the current thinking that IFE is too expensive and the power-plant size too large to be competitive in contemporary power-generation markets.

Potential Impact:

Accelerating and lowering the costs of fusion development and eventual deployment will enable fusion energy to contribute to:


Fusion energy will ensure the U.S.'s technological lead and energy security.


Fusion energy will improve our chances of meeting growing global clean-energy demand and realizing cost-effective, net-zero carbon emissions, while minimizing pollution and avoiding long-lived radioactive waste.


As a disruptive technology, fusion energy will likely create new markets, opportunities, and export advantages for the U.S.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Ahmed Diallo
Project Contact:
Matthew Wolford
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