Polarized fusion has long ago be proposed as a method to strongly increase the efficiency of fusion reactors. However, the required nuclear spin-polarization conservation in fusion plasmas has never been proven experimentally. Here we report on first experimental data from the Phelix laser at GSI Darmstadt suggesting an increased ion flux from a polarized 3He target heated by a PW laser pulse as well as evidence for an almost complete persistence of their nuclear polarization after acceleration to MeV energies. These findings also validate the concept of using pre-polarized targets for plasma acceleration of polarized beams.
In the second part of my talk I will present a new method for producing the required polarized fuel in a simple and energy efficient way. The method is based on a so-called Sona transition unit, in which a beams of atoms, molecules or ions can be polarized up to P~90% – basically without limitation of the beam intensities – by means of a coherent and monochromatic radio-wave pulse. The technique should also work for a variety of samples at rest; thus it opens the door for a new generation of polarised tracers, and possibly low-field MRI.