Sydney Experiment: We Have Electron Confinement!!!

2 08 2011

All photos.

1 year,  7 months  and 8 days ago I learned of the copper coil Polywell that Joe Khachan and his team built.

I decided to repeat Joe’s experiment. Although challenging it seemed possible to achieve. I dubbed this endeavor the Sydney Experiment.

It took far longer than I expected to fabricate all the necessary parts for the experiment.

Today with great pleasure I ran the Sydney Experiment. Here we see what appears to be electron confinement:

This acquisition shows the floating potential of the langmuir probe.

This run was done with air plasma at 10 millitorr :

The electron gun was running  10KvDC @ 6.5mA:

The coil power supply was charged to ~ 400VDC:

This is just a first run. Now begins the actual experimentation and data gathering.

I do believe this is the WORLD’S FIRST AMATEUR POLYWELL!!!


The plasma during the run:



27 responses

2 08 2011

Congratulations. I’ve been following this blog since you started, and it’s come a long way… :)

2 08 2011

Long time fan! I am just an observer, but it occurs to me that the people who keep up the amateur fusion list over at will probably have to modify their fusioneer list to include non fusors now. Please contact them again like you did before when you get confirmed neutrons :D

Cannot wait for more data out of this, and also to hear about who contacts you about it! It might be worth it to you technically to mass e-mail plasma physicists at universities you respect with your results when you achieve them. The University of Wisconsin comes to mind for one.

Congrats on your imminent world first, home-built, fusion producing polywell!

2 08 2011

Absolutely fantastic news, congratulations! Amazing and inspiring to see you come so far, so fast!

Open Source fusion for the win!

2 08 2011
Steve Russell

Congratulations Famulus!

2 08 2011

+++ Awesome congrats! Love the great news coming by.

2 08 2011
Dave Price

Great work!

BTW did you see the WB-8 report? They say they’ve achieved “excellent” confinement with the .8T nubless design.

2 08 2011
Adam Kelly

Congratulations, you glorious bastard!

2 08 2011
bob gates

who do you think will win americas got talent this year?

2 08 2011
Jacob Miller

Congrats man! Just found the blog today – the story is making its rounds around the internet. Really neat reading it all from the beginning.

2 08 2011

Awesome :) Grats!

2 08 2011

Your electric bill must be outrageous! o.o

3 08 2011
Sci-Tech: Amateur team makes progress with Polywell fusion device : Hobbies and Rides

[…] had achieved a key milestone and were now “the WORLD’S FIRST AMATEUR POLYWELL!!!”: Sydney Experiment: We Have Electron Confinement!!! – Prometheus Fusion Perfection – Aug…. (link via Trent […]

3 08 2011

Congratulations from a long time reader!

3 08 2011
Paul Crowley


…so what’s next?

3 08 2011
James Russell

Many Congratulations! I hope to see more soon!
Once upon a time I started to gather the parts to build a farnsworth fusor. Gave up on the project, I was only 19. You have inspired me to take it up again!

3 08 2011

Well done.

3 08 2011

Very interesting. Advancing science as an amateur is both courageous and noble. Thank you for keeping it open. When you obtain results I look forward to reading the details.

3 08 2011

Did you also test with air in the chamber to make sure you don’t get the same voltage spike?

3 08 2011

Mark, is your electron gun running constantly? I can’t quite tell from your description how you have run this test. I think it would be important to work out how to ensure the spike you registered on your probe is not simply an induced current from the sudden discharge of the capacitors. I would have tended to expect a trace showing formation of trapped charge to go straight up, not show blips indicative of reactive resonances.

The other point to note is that you should be looking to apply a voltage to your Langmuir probe, not simply taking a reading off it. Can’t tell if that is what you have done, or not. Hold a voltage on the proble as you pluse the field and plot peak current drawn as you vary the voltage in each pulse. As you are in pulse mode this will need a second oscilloscope measuring current to the probe, to get a reading for that in the timescale it happens, for each pulse/voltage combination. There will [in theory]* be some voltage at which no current flows and this is the plasma potential. *AFAIK Langmuir probe theory is very complex in situations like this; magnetic and pulsed, and quantitative analysis is not well established.

3 08 2011
Mark Suppes

Yes, the electron gun is running before and after the magnet pulse.

I’ll try applying a voltage to the langmuir probe.

3 08 2011

OK, so I’d suggest, simply, that you should turn the electron gun off after an ‘electron-gun-on’ run (to ensure identical conditions) and see if you still get a spike when you discharge the caps.

Be mindful that if you are using something very sensitive to measure the current into the probe with, that you don’t create conditions where you might blow it up from the electron gun. I suggest you use a bog-cheap multimeter first and turn up the electron gun volts and power slowly, just to get familar with the behaviour of your system. After all, you are somewhat on your own here, treading new ground! So don’t take any suggestions I say as a guarantee your electronics kit is safe! Turn up everything very slowly, make sure you are happy that what you are seeing looks ‘good’. best of luck….

5 08 2011
Don Cox

Excellent news. Keep going.

6 08 2011

Congratulations. :)

9 08 2011
John P.

Nice rig. Congratulations and best of luck on future runs.

19 08 2011
Jeroen Vriesman

First of all:

CONGRATULATIONS! Your work is very inspiring.

Looking at your pressure, 1E-2 seems rather high and you describe measuring peaks when you lower the pressure.
Also, Bussard describes a potential well depth of about 0.8 times the grid voltage, your depth is only 42V.

For what it’s worth, this is my view on these results:

1) At 1E-2 there are lots of collisions between electrons and gas atoms, so lots of energy is lost, and there is a stable plasma.

2) at lower pressure, there are less collisions, so your potential well gets deeper, but at some depth, the E field is capable of accelerating free electrons after ionization of a gas atom, creating an avalanche effect which discharges your potential well, destroying the virtual cathode. This might be the peaks you’ve seen.

At even lower pressures, the collisions between gas atoms and electrons get less frequent and avalanche effects disappear, the electrons loose far less energy and the potential well get deeper, until reaching about 0.8 times the grid voltage according to Bussard.

You might need a pressure of about 5E-8 torr for that.

22 08 2011
Mark Suppes

With my current setup I cannot get below ~8.5 millitorr or get plasma instabilities.

I am working on a hot cathode electron gun to do a really deep vacuum trial of electron confinement.

7 04 2012
Dexter Andrada

I guess my question really is where is this headed? Half of what you are saying is alien talk to me, but i am very very impressed with your progress. Please keep the blog rolling.

BTW, found you over at kickstarter. :-)

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