Press Releases

DOE awards Sydor Technologies a Phase I SBIR grant for ‘Plasma Electrode Pockels Cells for Inertial Fusion Facilities’

ROCHESTER, N.Y., [AUGUST 29, 2023] ‒ Sydor Technologies, a global provider of ultrafast detectors and specialized high voltage electronics, has been awarded another Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant worth $200,000 by the US Department of Energy (DOE). With this additional award, Sydor Technologies continues its legacy as an important manufacturing partner for the Inertial Fusion facilities, researchers, and start-ups.

The mid-scale plasma electrode Pockels cell (PEPC) being loaded into a high power laser system. Image courtesy LLE.

The recent nuclear fusion ignition breakthroughs have reignited interest in developing fusion energy as a source of clean power. Much of the supporting technologies have been custom developments in the national laboratory environment, meaning research teams and startups around the world need access to commercially available versions of equipment to continue advancing inertial fusion technology. One such emerging electro-optic technology is the Plasma Electrode Pockels Cell, which supports high-energy, high-power lasers. It has been demonstrated to help reduce the size and cost of high-power laser systems, while supporting larger aperture lasers that standard Pockels cells cannot. This new technology also supports higher repetition rates, which is critical for transitioning from the infrequent operational mode of national facilities to higher frequency operation of future power plants on the grid.

This new Phase I grant positions Sydor Technologies to continue providing advances for critical infrastructure at national laboratories like Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). Located in the same region, Sydor Technologies will work with the LLE to assess the commercial feasibility of the Plasma Electrode Pockels Cell (PEPC) system, including a review of the fabrication process and securing the necessary supply chain. In addition, a conceptual design of a commercially viable product will be developed. Potential users will be polled to identify the performance requirements to support this emerging Inertial Fusion Energy market.

Principal investigator at Sydor Technologies, Dr. David Garand, comments, “The plasma electrode Pockels cell technology is a world-class device that has only been manufacturable and deployable in a national laboratory environment. Sydor developing a robust and commercially supported PEPC will have significant impact on this growing market by enabling various facility designs to pursue inertial fusion energy, and by supporting plant designs that are economically reproducible for supporting grid development.”

The electro-optic Plasma Electrode Pockels Cell technology is a direct enabler of high-power, high-energy modular lasers, which can be deployed to achieve Inertial Fusion Energy in next generation power plants serving as a source of clean energy. This technology can support the growing number of start-ups pursuing Inertial Fusion Energy, as well as existing laser companies providing high-power lasers to national facilities and businesses.