inertial electrostatic confinement


  • Because the motion provided by the field creates the energy levels needed for fusion, not random collisions with the rest of the fuel, the bulk of the plasma does not have
    to be hot and the systems as a whole work at much lower temperatures and energy levels than MCF devices.

  • Commercial applications Since fusion reactions generates neutrons, the fusor has been developed into a family of compact sealed reaction chamber neutron generators[78] for
    a wide range of applications that need moderate neutron output rates at a moderate price.

  • These loss mechanisms appear to be greater than the rate of fusion in such devices, meaning they can never reach fusion breakeven and thus be used for power production.

  • Their study showed that by 1-2 Tesla magnetic field it is possible to increase the discharge current and neutron production rate more than ten times with respect to the ordinary

  • [6] This puts on minimum criteria on power plant designs which do fusion using hot Maxwellian plasma clouds.

  • In 1962, he filed a patent on a design using a positive inner cage to concentrate plasma, in order to achieve nuclear fusion.

  • [13] Spitzer took the ideal gas laws and adapted them to an ionized plasma, developing many of the fundamental equations used to model a plasma.

  • Another problem is higher energy ions which have so much energy that they can escape the machine.

  • Most IEC designs achieve this by pulling the electrons or ions across a potential well, beyond which the potential drops and the particles continue to move due to their inertia.

  • [64] This is also the first (suggested) application of carbon nanotubes directly in any fusion reactor.

  • This may allow the plasma to be optimized, whereby cold electrons would reduce radiation losses and hot ions would raise fusion rates.

  • Overall the physical process is similar to the colliding beam fusion, although beam devices are linear instead of spherical.

  • Researcher had problems with a very thin ion-turning region very close to a solid surface[32] where ions could be conducted away.

  • Meanwhile, magnetic mirror theory and direct energy conversion were developed by Richard F. Post’s group at LLNL.

  • As the negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions in the plasma move in different directions in an electric field, the field has to be arranged in some fashion
    so that the two particles remain close together.

  • Nevins argued mathematically, that the fusion gain (ratio of fusion power produced to the power required to maintain the non-equilibrium ion distribution function) is limited
    to 0.1 assuming that the device is fueled with a mixture of deuterium and tritium.

  • Rider focused his arguments within the ion population and did not address electron-to-ion energy exchange or non-thermal plasmas.

  • A number of detailed theoretical studies have pointed out that the IEC approach is subject to a number of energy loss mechanisms that are not present if the fuel is evenly
    heated, or “Maxwellian”.

  • [41] Thermalization[edit] This is an energy distribution comparison of thermalized and non-thermalized ions The primary problem that Rider has raised is the thermalization
    of ions.

  • Rider argued that if such system was sufficiently heated, it could not be expected to produce net power, due to high X-ray losses.

  • Inertial electrostatic confinement, or IEC, is a class of fusion power devices that use electric fields to confine the plasma rather than the more common approach using magnetic
    fields found in magnetic confinement fusion (MCF) designs.

  • [34] Marble kept ions on orbits that do not intersect grid wires—the latter also improves the space charge limitations by multiple nesting of ion beams at several energies.

  • In theory, this makes them more suitable for using alternative aneutronic fusion fuels, which offer a number of major practical benefits and makes IEC devices one of the more
    widely studied approaches to fusion.

  • This sort of voltage is easily achieved in common electrical devices; a typical cathode-ray tube operates in this range.

  • • Phoenix Nuclear Labs has developed a commercial neutron source based on a fusor, achieving neutrons per second with the deuterium-deuterium fusion reaction for 132 hours
    of continuous operation.

  • [87] • University of Sydney has built several IEC devices and also low power, low beta ratio polywells.

  • Brillouin limit[edit] In 1945, Columbia University professor Léon Brillouin, suggested that there was a limit to how many electrons one could pack into a given volume.

  • The electric field does work on the ions heating them to fusion conditions.

  • In addition, collisions heat the grids, which limits high-power devices.

  • As they accelerate, the electric field does work on the ions, heating them to fusion conditions.

  • Most IEC devices directly accelerate their fuel to fusion conditions, thereby avoiding energy losses seen during the longer heating stages of MCF devices.

  • [58] No fusor has come close to producing a significant amount of fusion power.

  • [62] The ion oscillation is predicted to maintain the equilibrium distribution of the ions at all times, which would eliminate any power loss due to Coulomb scattering, resulting
    in a net energy gain.

  • Fusors are popular with amateurs,[57] because they can easily be constructed, can regularly produce fusion and are a practical way to study nuclear physics.

  • These mechanisms are more powerful when the atomic mass of the fuel increases, which suggests IEC also does not have any advantage with aneutronic fuels.

  • Fusion occurs in this lower-potential area when ions moving in different directions collide.

  • In his work with vacuum tubes, Philo Farnsworth observed that electric charge would accumulate in regions of the tube.

  • 2000s[edit] Despite demonstration in 2000 of 7200 hours of operation without degradation at high input power as a sealed reaction chamber with automated control the FusionStar
    project was canceled and the company NSD Ltd was founded.

  • [75] Because the electron has a mass and diameter much smaller than the ion, the electron temperature can be several orders of magnitude different than the ions.

  • As they do, they exchange energy, causing their energy to spread out (in a Wiener process) heading to a bell curve (or Gaussian function) of energy.

  • If they impact with another ion they may undergo fusion.

  • [36] Where B is the magnetic field, the permeability of free space, m the mass of confined particles, and c the speed of light.

  • Very high output neutron sources may be used to make products such as molybdenum-99[39] and nitrogen-13, medical isotopes used for PET scans.

  • [68] In a Penning trap fusion reactor, first the magnetic and electric fields are turned on.

  • This device has an inner cage to make the field, and four ion guns on the outside.

  • An ion with a charge of one can reach this temperature by being accelerated across a 15,000 V drop.

  • Collisions also spray high-mass ions into the reaction chamber, pollute the plasma, and cool the fuel.

  • [84] Universities[edit] • Tokyo Institute of Technology has four IEC devices of different shapes: a spherical machine, a cylindrical device, a co-axial double cylinder and
    a magnetically assisted device.

  • [59] In response they built POPS,[60][61] a machine with a wire cage, where ions are moving at steady-state, or oscillating around.

  • Fusors can also use ion guns rather than electric grids.

  • [70] These optics made static voltage surfaces in free space.

  • • Eindhoven Technical University[88] • Amirkabir University of Technology and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran have investigated the effect of strong pulsed magnetic fields
    on the neutron production rate of IEC device.


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