RF plugging of multi-mirror machines

Tal Miller, Ilan Be'ery, Eli Gudinetsky, Ido Barth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


One of the main challenges of fusion reactors based on magnetic mirrors is the axial particle loss through the loss cones. In multi-mirror (MM) systems, the particle loss is addressed by adding mirror cells on each end of the central fusion cell. Coulomb collisions in the MM sections serve as the retrapping mechanism for the escaping particles. Unfortunately, the confinement time in this system only scales linearly with the number of cells in the MM sections and requires an unreasonably large number of cells to satisfy the Lawson criterion. Here, it is suggested to reduce the outflow by applying a traveling radio frequency (RF) electric field that mainly targets the particles in the outgoing loss cone. The Doppler shift compensates for the detuning of the RF frequency from the ion cyclotron resonance mainly for the escaping particles resulting in a selectivity effect. The transition rates between the different phase space populations are quantified via single-particle calculations and then incorporated into a semi-kinetic rate equations model for the MM system, including the RF effect. It is found that for optimized parameters, the confinement time can scale exponentially with the number of MM cells, orders of magnitude better than a similar MM system of the same length but without the RF plugging, and can satisfy the Lawson criterion for a reasonable system size.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number072510
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023

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