The Lockheed-Martin Idea

From Lockheed Martin

In October, 2014, Lockheed Martin skunkworks announced that it had made a breakthrough in compact fusion energy.

At Lockheed Martin Skunk Works®, we’re making advancements in the development of fusion energy, the ultimate form of renewable power. Our scientists and engineers are looking at the biggest natural fusion reactor for inspiration – the sun. By containing the power of the sun in a small magnetic bottle, we are on the fast track to developing compact fusion reactors to serve the world’s ever-growing energy needs. Learn more about compact fusion: Learn more:

‘Skunk power’ creates confusion over nuclear fusion

BBC’s Take on the Skunkworks announcement
BBC by Matt McGrath, Nov. 24, 2014

Lockheed Martin is working on a device that could become a compact fusion reactor

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is doing its best to shatter my favourite science cliche.

“Nuclear fusion is just 30 years away – and always will be.”

The advanced projects team at Lockheed, known as Skunk Works, has unveiled a plan to develop a compact, magnetic fusion device in less than a decade.

OK, Skunk Works has a history of developing secret military aircraft over the past 70 years, but nuclear fusion?

What have they been smoking, you might say… Read More

And some background information relating to Lockheed Martin’s Oct. 2014 announcement:

Solve for X – Charles Chase Fusion Energy Video

Problem: Energy access & climate change
Solution: A 100MW compact fusion reactor that runs on plentiful and cheap deuterium and tritium

New Design Features for Polywell

Joel G. Rogers, Ph.D.


New design features include a differentially pumped ion source and an electron extractor. Differential pumping localizes the ion birthplace to be at the peak of the electrostatic potential, thus minimizing the ions’ energy spread. The electron extractor localizes up-scattered electron losses to occur only in one selected point cusp, thus improving the reactor power balance and the accuracy of simulation. Two-dimensional PIC simulation was used to investigate the scaling of the power-balance with magnet size. Both a two-magnet spindle-cusp design and a six-magnet Polywell design were simulated with D+D fuel. The Polywell design demonstrated much superior power balance compared to the spindle cusp. Even so, scaling to break-even leads to an impractically large reactor size. Thus, it now appears that resistive magnets will not work with advanced fuels. Super-conducting magnets will be required to reach breakeven. Simulation also suggested favorable bremsstrahlung scaling with size. This gives hope for future reactor designs utilizing p+B11 fuel.

The above abstract was read by the author in a 25-minute talk before 27 attendees at the 15th annual Workshop on IEC Fusion
at Kyoto University. Following the Workshop, a preliminary version of the talk was posted on the Workshop website ( This more recent final. pdf file contains corrected slides and notes. The notes are the actual verbatim text as read by the author at the Workshop.

Read more about Polywell