The world scientific community has spent decades developing and refining magnetic confinement fusion theory and experimental devices for the ultimate goal of safely, effectively, and economically generating power from a nuclear fusion reaction.
Magnet systems are the ultimate enabling technology for these types of fusion devices. Powerful magnetic fields are required for confinement of the plasma, and, depending on the magnetic configuration, dc and/or pulsed magnetic fields are required for plasma initiation, ohmic heating, inductive current drive, plasma shaping, equilibrium, and stability control.
Almost all design concepts for power producing commercial fusion reactors rely on superconducting magnets for efficient and reliable production of these magnetic fields.
Future superconducting magnets for fusion applications require improvements in materials and components to significantly enhance the feasibility and practicality of fusion reactors as an energy source.
This lecture presents the fundamentals of superconductors and magnets that makes them attractive for use in fusion device. Examples are drawn from present operating fusion tokamak, helical, and stellarator machines that use low temperature superconductors.
I will also introduce the use of high temperature superconductors for future magnetic fusion devices, and how it may strongly influence the performance of fusion reactors.