Solving the problem of fusion power with the simplest machine possible

Simplicity is a thread that runs through First Light’s approach to fusion. The machine that launches the projectile is big but simple. The electromagnetic launch involves a delicate balance of many different physical processes, but the machine itself is built from readily available, low-cost, off-the-shelf components.

The impact of the projectile on the target and the focusing of the pressure in the amplifier also embody simplicity. The physics of laser-matter interaction, the existing approach to inertial fusion, is extremely complex. When the projectile hits the target there is very little physics risk. The same is true of the amplifiers; until the shocks reach the fuel, everything is cold, dense, and unexciting.

And finally, the power plant concept is also simple. The liquid first wall avoids some of the biggest engineering challenges of fusion, and it works uniquely well with the very simple geometry of projectile fusion. The concept plugs into existing plant engineering, using proven nuclear-qualified materials and existing supply chains. Solving fusion physics is not enough, the world needs a technology that can be built at scale.