Naval Research Laboratory Direct Drive Inertial Fusion

Naval Research Laboratory research is developing the science and technologies necessary for clean, abundant energy, based on inertial fusion using the electron beam-pumped krypton fluoride (KrF) laser.

For this energy application, the KrF laser amplifiers require very high-energy, high-voltage and durable pulse power systems that far exceed any previous state of the art capabilities. It requires operating many millions of continuous shot cycles at 5 to 10 pulses per second. With peak power capability more than 10 times higher than that of any other all solid-state pulse power system, this system is the prototype for still higher power and voltage systems that will be developed for NRL’s high performance electron beam pumped KrF lasers. The prototype system produces 300 nanosecond duration electrical pulsed of 200,000 volts at 5,000 amps and operates at 10 pulses per second.

In recent tests it has run continuously for 11,500,000 shots over 319 hours of nonstop operation. This is 100 times longer than possible with existing sparkgap switch-based systems of similar energy and repetition rate.