Thursday, August 5, 2010

First Picture of Plasmoid at Lawrenceville

We are now getting some initial pictures of the plasmoid which will be the reaction chamber for the onset of boron based fusion.  Progress is continuing and we may soon know if we will be able to make this work.  It continues to look good.  Maybe we will be lucky and get it right from the get go.

If this is new to you, what is happening is that neutrons will be fired into boron atoms to induce fusion producing an isotope that immediately fissions into three helium atoms without any troublesome nuclear particles.  The energy output is in the form of energetic helium ions which is then stripped as it exits the chamber.  The necessary set up energies is orders of magnitude lower than conventional fusion concepts.

That all means it has a good chance of working and providing a true trouble free energy source that will fulfill the promise of fusion energy.

AUGUST 02, 2010

On our first day of full functioning with the ICCD, we got our first picture of a plasmoid on shot 14. (This was a relatively small shot with a late pinch due to too much fill gas, or too little current for the gas. The current was 600 kA with 20 torr fill.) The image , Figure 1, slightly contrast-enhanced, is taken directly side-on, perpendicular to the axis of the device through the quartz view window.

The dark rectangular shadows at the top are two of the 3/8-inch cathode rods. The bright line across the image, separating the light from the dark areas, is the plasma sheath.

The plasmoid, the bright spot, can be seen at the tip of the twisted and kinking pinch column. The image gives evidence of the kinking which we and others feel leads to the plasmoid formation. It also gives a maximum radius for the plasmoid of about 700 microns. The plasmoid itself is smaller, and is buried within the bright spot. 

Unfortunately we are still learning to use the software, and some data within the spot was lost when the image was saved. In addition, the ICCD observes the plasmoid in UV light, so may not be able to see all the way into the densest parts. We are working to get better images in the future

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