Vintage Fast Neutron Counter for Sale

16 08 2011

All photos.

I’m selling this fast neutron counter to raise funds for the project:

It might be possible to get it working… I dont’ know!

Vacuum Degreasing

15 08 2011

All photos.

A vacuum specialist suggested a better technique for degreasing vacuum equipment:

Lightly swab with acetone, followed by reagent grade ethyl alcohol.

The acetone degreases, and the alcohol removes residual acetone.


I used this cleaning technique before reassembling the Polywell:

Back in the chamber soon!

Destroyed Coils

11 08 2011

All photos.

Today I removed the coils to inspect the damage from the last run.

Blown apart pretty good!

I’m attempting to clean the teflon in hydrochloric acid now.

The coils are easy enough to rewind.

There are little droplets of cooled molten copper inside the chamber!

Check Out This Image

9 08 2011

I’m working on an all ceramic 3D printed version of the coil formers.

Made this image by mistake:

UPDATE: Progress towards a coil former with integrated electron gun:


More progress on this design… can you see it evolve?



Condition: Thinest Atmosphere Possible

7 08 2011

All photos.

My goal today was to find the thinest atmosphere that still creates a plasma.

The oscilloscope attached to the langmuir probe reveals this behavior transition around 8 millitorr:

Above 8 millitorr the plasma is relatively stable. As the pressure drops below 8 millitorr, the behavior transitions to extreme spikes in floating potential. The electron gun is at 25KV, current limited to 1mA.

This transition is not apparent from watching the plasma or power supply. New information!

As the pressure continues to drop, the spikes become less frequent and more extreme.

Until eventually I heard a rather loud pop…. which blew out the trigger circuit on my coil power supply!

I’ll have to repaire the coil power supply now. I must point out the bleed resistors did their job and slowly discharged the coil capacitors. Crucial safety feature.

So we learned something and I broke something. Good day.

UPDATE: A continuity test of the coil failed. The coil is damaged. The coil power supply is fine

Control: Fire the Coils Without Electron Beam

3 08 2011

In comments, chrismb suggested I fire the coils without the electron beam.

Great idea! This shows the effects of the coils alone… a control.

Results (same air pressure as before):

It seems the coils contribute a small positive voltage spike.

I did 3 test fires, all with similar results.

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:

BIG STEP: Fired the Magrid Coil Inside Vacuum Chamber

1 08 2011

All photos.

Today I did all the wiring to connect the coil power supply to the coils inside the chamber.

I started by rack mounting the coil power supply:

Grounded the coil power supply:

I bought these rather expensive ($8 a piece) but totally necessary connectors for the feedthroughs:

I re-wound the coils with fresh magnet wire:

Test install:

Connect the coil to the feedthrough:

Make the cable from the feedthrough to the coil power supply:

Strain relief for the cable:

Finally ready to do a test shot:

I took the power supply capacitors up to 400V and did a sucessful test fire:

You can see the magrid flinch in the chamber when the caps fire. SUCCESS!

Very close to actually running the sydney experiment.

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