Scientific Methodology

Scientific Methodology

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Design of Experiments (DOE)


Design of experiments, or DOE, is a mathematical method for designing experiments. The traditional method of experimentation varies only one factor (like voltage) while keeping all other factors fixed (like pressure, temperature, gas composition, current, etc, etc), and watching the results. While this traditional method is very powerful, and enabled the entire scientific revolution, this traditional method also takes a very long time when the experiment has many different factors. To use this traditional method to test for the effects of voltage, pressure, temperature, gas composition and electric current, as well as any interactions between those factors would require thousands of experiments, and years of time. The DOE method is a very clever way of using statistics to specify a very small number of tests - say 50 - that will reveal all the same effects and interactions found in the thousands of experiments where only one factor was varied at a time.  

The SAFIRE team has always employed the DOE method, which has contributed greatly to the pace of our results. While we have not done a formal survey, it is clear from our discussions with other groups working in energy production and nuclear waste remediation that most are not using the DOE methodology, which could account for the difficulties most groups are facing in clarifying and stabilizing their processes.


Above movie: scenes from the feature documentary film SAFIRE now in production. How the Design of Experiments methodology is being used in the SAFIRE lab.



real-time, post experimental, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)


Plasma potential probes

IR camera

UV camera

Optical Spectroscopy


Mass Spec

Chamber Voltage

Chamber Current


RF antennas

Gas Composition & Flow


Coming Soon

Raman Spectroscopy

Neutron detectors

Neutrino Detectors

Laser Thompson Scattering

3-axis magnetometer