Polywell Fusion: Electrostatic Fusion in a Magnetic Cusp


January 22, 2015


Jaeyoung Park




Nuclear fusion power is considered the ultimate energy source because of its nearly inexhaustible supply of cheap fuels, intrinsic safety, zero emissions and lack of long-lived radioactive waste. Despite tremendous progress in science and technology of fusion reactors, the general consensus has been, and still is, “fusion is always 20 years away”. In this talk, I will introduce the Polywell fusion concept that may offer a low cost and rapid development path to power the world economically and sustainably. As conceived by Dr. Robert Bussard at EMC2 in 1983, the Polywell fusion concept combines electric fusion with magnetic cusp confinement. This allows the Polywell reactor to be small, stable, and highly efficient. The successful development of Polywell reactor hinged on validating magnetic cusp confinement. Since 1994, EMC2 had built and operated successive test devices from Wiffle-Ball-1 (WB-1) to WB-8. Finally, EMC2 carried out an experiment that demonstrated dramatically improved high-energy electron confinement in a magnetic cusp system in late 2013. A committee of fusion science experts independently reviewed this work and stated that it was “a major achievement and a prerequisite to concept success”. I will present a roadmap to complete the proof-of-principle test toward a net power producing Polywell fusion reactor.


Jaeyoung Park

Dr. Jaeyoung Park is a President and Chief Technology Officer at Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2). He has received his Ph.D. in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton Universities in 1997, based on his research about plasma recombination and its radiation signatures. Before joining EMC2, he was a postdoctoral fellow and later a technical staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory work. At Los Alamos, Dr. Park worked on a variety of projects from low temperature plasma source development for materials applications to electrostatic fusion neutron generators. Since 2007, Dr. Park has led the research team at EMC2 working on Polywell technology for a practical nuclear fusion power reactor with the support from DoD/US Navy.