Lawrenceville Plasma Physics

4 10 2010

All photos.

Today I visited Lawrenceville Plasma Physics where Eric J. Lerner, Murali S. Krupakar, and Derek Shannon are researching Dense Plasma Focus Fusion. Eric Lerner was out today.

Provided it works, the real promise of Dense Plasma Focus Fusion is that it does not require physical scaling. In other words, you don’t have to build it any bigger than the machine pictured below, but it would require a larger capacitor bank.

Murali comes from the IEC world and has a ton of published papers on IEC. Previously he worked on POPS at Los Alamos. Derek recently joined the team and has a background in artificial intelligence.

 

Murali, me, and Derek in front of the reactor

 

Their radiation room is made of ~1 meter thick walls of normal cinderblock lined with EMF blocking metal screen.

 

Murali showing the spark gap triggers

 

The oscilloscopes below are used to ensure the capacitors trigger together. They use fiber optic to electrical converters with the fiber optic directly measuring the light from the spark gap plasma. At 20 torr, their reaction runs at 1,000 times the pressure of most IEC experiments. Murali stressed that DPF takes advantage of plasma instabilities… sort of going with the grain rather than against it.

 

Rezwan and Derek

 

Rezwan made contact with me and runs http://focusfusion.org/ a non-profit for the advancement of fusion.

Here is a shot of the vacuum chamber where the fusion happens:

You can tell these guys are scrappy, check out the copious aluminum foil shielding:

I talked to the team for hours, so this is just a bit of what I learned.

Big thanks to the Lawrenceville Plasma Physics team for showing me the lab!

 

UPDATE:

Murali pointed out that although they have electron neutron counters, they still use bubble neutron dosemeters as a double check… because the bubble dosemeters are not susceptible to EMF interference. Smart.

 

 

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2 responses

6 10 2010
Derek

Thanks for coming by, Mark – May the fusion race begin!

Your readers might also like this video of our machine in action from last week:

6 10 2010
Brian H

There are two big kickers associated with this program.
1) Timing. It could get scientific validation and proceed on to engineering within a few years — say, 3-5 — and hit the market running.
2) Costs. Capital (hardware) and operating (generation) costs should both run around 1/20 of the BEST North American pricing now available. This is world-shaking in its economic implications..

The sum of those two factors is that it would simultaneously resolve the energy and emissions issues which now so roil and obsess the world.

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