LDX is a novel experimental device designed to explore the physics of plasma confinement in a magnetic dipole field. What makes it unique? Besides levitating a 1/2 ton superconducting ring, we will conduct the first experimental test on the theory of plasma confinement by adiabatic compressibility.

If this concept turns out to be correct, levitated dipoles may one day make an attractive magnetically confined fusion energy source. LDX is a collaboration between Columbia University’s Dept. of Applied Physics and the MIT Plasma Science & Fusion Center and is funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Fusion Energy.

The dipole magnetic field is the simplest and most common magnetic field configuration in the universe. It is the magnetic far-field of a single, circular current loop, and it represents the dominate structure of the middle magnetospheres of magnetized planets and neutron stars.

The use of a dipole magnetic field generated by a levitated ring to confine a hot plasma for fusion power generation was first considered by Akira Hasegawa after participating in the Voyager 2 encounter with Uranus [1]. Hasegawa recognized that the inward diffusion and adiabatic heating that accompanied strong magnetic and electric fluctuations in planetary magnetospheres represented a fundamental property of strongly magnetized plasmas not yet observed in laboratory fusion experiments.

For example, it is well-known… (See Background and Theory)

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