Mapping out the parameters for inertial confinement fusion — GSI/FAIR sign a cooperation agreement with Focused Energy


In the coming months, the Darmstadt-based start-up company “Focused Energy” and GSI/FAIR will explore the parameters for laser-driven inertial confinement fusion. Chief Science Officer Professor Markus Roth of Focused Energy as well as Professor Paolo Giubellino, Scientific Director of GSI and FAIR, and Dr. Ulrich Breuer, Administrative Director of GSI and FAIR, signed a corresponding collaboration agreement.

In the contract, Focused Energy commits to invest more than 100,000 Euros for the expansion of the PHELIX laser system at GSI. The researchers will use the funding to upgrade the laser so that the setup provides non-coherent nanosecond laser pulses. Those can be employed to create conditions for a more stable laser-plasma interaction, as laser-plasma instabilities are currently identified as one of the challenges on the path to inertial fusion energy.

“The collaboration represents an opportunity for us to use our unique PHELIX facility to precisely delineate the fundamentals of this promising form of energy generation,” Giubellino explains. “We encourage the advancement of research and development of application-related technologies also by commercial partners, which enables the exploitation of synergies and can contribute important impulses. This is an excellent example of how the FAIR broad scientific program, in this case the APPA plasma physics program, can provide fundamental science measurements of substantial societal impact.”

GSI and FAIR have a long-standing connection with Markus Roth, who is also a professor of laser and plasma physics at the Technical University of Darmstadt. Roth was previously a postdoc and member of research staff at GSI and has a long history of experiments conducted at GSI’s plasma physics. With the start-up Focused Energy, Roth and his colleagues now want to develop and commercialize fusion power plants and other laser-driven radiation sources, for example for non-destructive testing or for the detection of hidden substances. (CP)

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