Magnetic mirror fusion research at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Page: 4 of 26
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known at the time those first experiments were performed in 1961 is how
good the magnetic well principle really is in controlling MHO-like
instabilities. As our experiments in the 2XIIB facility at Livermore
have demonstrated, even a shallow magnetic well field can sustain
plasmas with peak energy densities that equal or even exceed the energy
density of the confining magnetic field. We feel that this
demonstration of beta values approaching unity is a very important
result, and one which we now understand both experimentally and
Although the problem of MHD stability in mirrors was solved very
early, it took us many years to understand and control the high
frequency instabilities that are associated with the non-maxwellian
nature of plasmas confined in mirror systems. Even now, while we
believe we have an adequate theoretical understanding of both the
nature of and the means for controlling these instabilities, we are not
yet satisfied with the technical means that we are presently using to
obtain this control and are working to improve these means.
I have mentioned the status of our work on the question of MHD and
high frequency instabilities. Of equal importance in understanding the
rationale of our research is the question of our technical means for
achieving fusion plasmas. Here I believe we have come a long way, both
in the matter of the achievement of fusion plasma parameters and in the
ability to predict and extrapolate these techniques to still higher
levels of performance. I am referring of course to the technique of
high current neutral beam injection, which we pioneered at Livermore,
together with the solutions to earlier problems of high vacuum and high
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Post, R.F. Magnetic mirror fusion research at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, article, February 9, 1979; Livermore, California. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1111120/m1/4/: accessed March 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.