The Levitated Dipole Experiment (LDX) is a project devoted to researching a nuclear fusion configuration which utilizes a floating superconducting torus to provide an axisymmetric magnetic field which is used to contain plasma. It is a collaboration between Columbia University's Department of Applied Physics and the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center and is funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy.
Unlike other types of magnetically confined fusion, the Levitated Dipole is designed to be robust to external fluctuations in electric/magnetic fields. In most laboratory plasmas, small fluctuations can cause significant energy loss, however in a dipolar magnetic field, fluctations tend to actually compress the plasma without energy loss.
This effect was first noticed by Akira Hasegawa after participating in the Voyager 2 encounter with Uranus.
- MIT tests unique approach to fusion power MIT News, David Chandler, MIT News Office, March 19, 2008. Accessed March 2008