Energy Research Initiative

John Sethian

John Sethian

“KrF Lasers and Inertial Confinement, A Path to clean Fusion Energy”

John Sethian is the head of the Fusion Technology Section of the Laser Plasma Branch in the Plasma Physics Division. He received an A.B. degree in physics from Princeton University in 1972, and a Ph.D. degree in applied physics from Cornell University in 1976. He has worked as a scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) since 1977.

Sethian has worked on a broad range of topics in plasma physics, electron beam physics, pulsed power, inertial confinement fusion, magnetic confinement fusion, and lasers, but has always had the goal of developing practical fusion power. He is currently the principal investigator of the Electra krypton fluoride (KrF) Laser Program to develop a durable and efficient repetitively pulsed durable electron beam pumped laser that can meet the fusion requirements. Sethian also was the director of the national “High Average Power Laser” (HAPL) Program to develop the technological underpinnings for practical fusion power based on lasers and the direct drive. The program brought together more than 60 researchers from national labs, universities, and private industries. The key science and technologies were developed in concert with one another as a part of coherent system. Credible solutions for most all the key components were developed and many of the concepts were substantiated with subscale tests, and many are applicable to other approaches to inertial fusion energy.

Sethian is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, has received four NRL invention/technology transfer awards, three patents, three NRL publication awards, and has published over 75 archival papers. He has received the Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award as well as the American Nuclear Society’s Annual Outstanding Achievement Award.