Robert Duckworth

Robert C Duckworth

Fusion Technology Group Leader / Senior R&D Staff

I have had the privilege to be at ORNL for nearly the past twenty years working across different aspects of superconductivity, cryogenics, vacuum, & insulations. Through collaborations across multiple organizations and universities, current work ranges from superconducting magnet design and procurement for the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment to conventional cable aging in radiation environments for current and next-generation nuclear reactors.  

The Fusion Technology Group, part of the Fusion Nuclear Science, Technology, and Engineering Section, develops innovative technology approaches for heating, fueling and controlling plasmas required for efficient operation of future fusion systems.

Project involved the instrumented gamma exposure of sensors under consideration for advanced reactors and tracking their performance up to 300 MRad in collaboration with Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation ( as part of Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) program ( 

The magnet system for MPEX is composed of multiple solenoid magnet subsystems that provide a steady-state axial field profile along the device length that ranges from 0.05 to 2.5 T. This variation in field along the length of MPEX enable rf source and heating (Electron Cyclotron & Ion Cyclotron) and confinement of the plasma as it travels from source to target. The design of the magnet system to these requirements consisted of six superconducting-based magnet subsystems and a single resistive magnet subsystem that is located in the helicon source region. The single resistive magnet subsystem accommodates a transient startup operation at the helicon source with axial fields in the region ramping from 0.02 T to between 0.05 and 0.2 T, depending on the operating mode along the helicon antenna length, in a matter of a few minutes.