Radio Frequency tools for Breakthrough Fusion Concepts
Fusion requires confining plasmas at extraordinarily high temperatures. One of the most promising ways to heat plasmas to these temperatures is with high-power radio-frequency (RF) waves. Beyond providing heating, RF waves can enable control of the radial current profile in a plasma, which can help improve confinement and control or mitigate plasma instabilities. Complex analytic theory and computer simulations are required to design effective and efficient plasma-heating scenarios, which must be tailored for various fusion concepts. MIT’s Capability Team will apply established state-of-the-art theoretical and simulation tools, developed and tested by the fusion research community on more traditional concepts, to accelerate the development of potentially transformative, lower-cost fusion concepts. The computer simulations will use some of the largest supercomputers in the world, and the predictions from these codes will guide these high-risk, high-reward experiments for the best chance of success.
Accelerating and lowering the costs of fusion development and eventual deployment will enable fusion energy to contribute to:
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.