Inertial Fusion Technology

The Inertial Fusion Technologies Program mission is to provide targets for the national inertial confinement fusion program, and develop technologies for ultimate utilization as inertial fusion for electric power and other energy applications.

Fusion is the nuclear reaction that powers the sun and stars. Atoms of light elements such as hydrogen are squeezed together under very high pressure and temperature, fusing together to form heavier elements such as helium, liberating energy in the process.

To make fusion occur, the atoms of hydrogen must be heated to temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius and held at high pressure (or "confined") long enough for fusion to take place. The sun heats and confines hydrogen by gravity.

Magnetic confinement fusion uses strong magnetic fields to confine the hydrogen, heated by microwaves or other means.

Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) uses powerful energy beams, such as lasers, to compress and heat the hydrogen fuel to fusion temperatures, and uses the inertia of the fuel itself to confine it long enough for fusion to occur.

GA Inertial Confinement Fusion Program Goal

The short-term goal of General Atomics (GA) Inertial Confinement Fusion program (ICF) is target production in support of current U.S. Department of Energy research programs to achieve ignition and beyond. The long-term goal of the GA ICF program is fusion energy for electric power and other energy applications.

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