Laser research: LMU and Marvel Fusion agree on cooperation to research laser-based nuclear fusion

7 Jul 2022

LMU and the Munich start-up Marvel Fusion will be collaborating in the field of laser research.

v.l.n.r. Prof. Dr. Ferenc Krausz (Fakultät für Physik LMU), Moritz von der Linden (CEO Marvel Fusion), Staatsminister Markus Blume, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Bernd Huber (Präsident der LMU), Heike Freund (COO Marvel Fusion), Staatssekretär Sandro Kirchner

Prof. Ferenc Krausz, Moritz von der Linden, Markus Blume, Prof. Bernd Huber, Heike Freund, Sandro Kirchner | © LMU

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) and the Munich start-up Marvel Fusion GmbH have signed a cooperation agreement in the field of laser research in Garching.

In the planned collaboration, scientists will undertake joint research into Marvel Fusion’s newly developed approach to laser-based nuclear fusion. It is intended to enable a safe, clean and reliable supply of energy in the future. The collaboration, which the Free State of Bavaria is supporting with 2.5 million euros, also includes the upgrading of one of the world’s most powerful laser systems at LMU.

Markus Blume, Bavarian State Minister for Science and the Arts, says: “This “fusion” points the way to a new era: Nuclear fusion was always a dream; with this scientific progress, there now comes specific hope. Laser-induced inertial fusion of hydrogen and boron enables clean nuclear fusion. This has the potential to revolutionize energy production. Europe needs energy sovereignty. In Bavaria, we have the courage to do pioneering work: the partnership between LMU and Marvel Fusion is imbued with entrepreneurial spirit and technological progress!”

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Bernd Huber, President of LMU, welcomes the new cooperation: “The Laser Physics group at LMU Munich has long been conducting outstanding basic research worldwide with forward-looking applications in a wide range of fields. This also provides the basis for numerous spin-offs and collaborations with companies in new technology areas, such as with Marvel Fusion. I wish this collaboration every success!”

The Centre for Advanced Laser Applications on the Garching campus near Munich already has one of the world’s most powerful high-intensity lasers. In their five-year collaboration, the partners plan to further expand this facility. That will enable the scientists to conduct experiments on laser-matter interaction and high-field ion acceleration that were previously impossible. These experiments will, in turn, enable Marvel Fusion to validate important parameters of its laser-based fusion technology.

Dr. Georg Korn, physicist and Chief Technology Officer at Marvel Fusion, says: “Laser-based fusion technology can make a crucial contribution to the energy transition and to Europe’s energy sovereignty because it enables the production of unlimited carbon-free electricity. The collaboration with LMU is a milestone for Marvel Fusion because it brings us a big step closer to the goal of commercial electricity production using laser-based fusion technology.”

High-power short-pulse laser technology is constantly being developed further at the highest scientific level at the Centre for Advanced Laser Applications. This is continually opening up new fields of application — from fundamental physics to energy research. The Center is also the first facility of its kind for medical applications. The long-term goals here include the early detection, localization and non-invasive treatment of cancer tumors using laser-generated infrared, X-ray and particle beams.

Prof. Dr. Ferenc Krausz, Chair of Experimental Physics at LMU and Director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, says: “We are fascinated by the possibilities offered by state-of-the-art ultrashort-pulse and high-power lasers for basic research and for advancing cancer diagnostics and treatment. We are pleased that this research spectrum is expanding now to include another promising application area in the field of energy research.”

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