The U.S. Department of Energy will fund a newly established Inertial Fusion Science and Technology Hub, known as RISE. Headquartered at Colorado State University, the new hub will focus on advancing inertial fusion energy, or IFE, a power source that could one day dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of how energy is supplied globally. Electrical and computer engineering professor James Gary Eden will be leading efforts at UIUC.
The U.S. Department of Energy will fund a newly established Inertial Fusion Science and Technology Hub, known as RISE. Headquartered at Colorado State University, the new hub will focus on advancing inertial fusion energy, or IFE, a power source that could one day dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of how energy is supplied globally.
RISE will receive $16 million in funding over the next four years.
Colorado State University and the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by Stanford University, will lead the new hub. They are working in partnership with experts from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Cornell University, Texas A&M, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory, and three companies: Marvel Fusion, Xcimer Energy, and General Atomics.
Electrical and computer engineering professor Gary Eden will be leading efforts at UIUC.
Fusion, the process that powers the sun, could be the key to enabling a safe, clean, and reliable energy source. Inertial fusion energy is a promising approach to fusion energy that uses powerful lasers to heat a small target containing fusible material.
Lasers are fundamental tools in IFE research. Last winter, for the first time in history, scientists at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory generated fusion gain, meaning more energy came out of a fusion reaction than laser energy that went in. RISE researchers aim to build on the momentum of that breakthrough to help make commercial fusion a success.
CSU's Carmen Menoni, University Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, serves as director of the new hub. Her team will use laser technologies to harness the potential of fusion for abundant clean energy.
Experiments at CSU will leverage the power of its ALEPH laser, a high repetition rate petawatt-class laser system. ALEPH was built in-house under the leadership of University Distinguished Professor Jorge Rocca, in partnership with local experts in ultra-intense laser interaction with ordered nanostructures leading to fusion.
UIUC researchers will focus on the laser driver, studying the physics of the krypton fluoride (KrF) laser using optical spectroscopy techniques the Eden lab has excelled at. Their goal will be to identify the physical chemistry that occurs during the formation and photodissociation of the excimer (excited dimer) KrF and other rare gas-halide excimers. UIUC will be collaborating with the Naval Research Laboratory (which has two KrF lasers) and Xcimer Energy (which is creating a high energy KrF system) to test their findings.
Eden says, “This is an excellent opportunity to be able to work with some of the best laboratories and universities in the country to tackle the pressing issues with climate change by creating a renewable energy source.” Experiments at UIUC will be led by research assistant professor Andrey Mironov and postdoctoral researcher Kavita Kabelitz.
“We envision the hub to become a center of excellence for IFE science and technology to support DOE’s mission in IFE,” said Menoni. “We are thrilled to partner with a world-class team of experts who are committed to making IFE a commercial reality.”
About the RISE Hub
The RISE Hub is funded by the DOE’s Office of Science, Fusion Energy Science through the DOE’s Inertial Fusion Energy Science and Technology Accelerator Research (IFE-STAR).
The RISE Hub will combine innovative target concepts with new developments in excimer gas lasers and solid-state laser drivers to open up novel IFE regimes. The hub will also prioritize the involvement of students and workforce development, and university-industry-national laboratory collaborations.
The Grainger College of Engineering Marketing & Communications office contributed to this report.
Read original CSU news release.
Read DOE news release.