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High Efficiency RF Heating for Small Nuclear Fusion Rocket Engines, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

High power nuclear fusion propulsion systems will require high efficiency radio-frequency heating systems in the MHz range for plasma heating. This proposal is for a novel scalable solid state Class E amplifier using Silicon Carbide switching transistors for plasma heating. This system is potentially 100% efficient compared to 40% for linear amplifiers and can be scaled to any desired size by adding additional segments in parallel. The system includes a novel closed loop feedback control system at the antenna and from the plasma. This eliminates the need for lossy transformers and other non-ideal components. The RF amplifier will be prototyped in Phase I in preparation for a plasma heating experiment in Phase II. More »

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