OWNI.fr profiles Prometheus Fusion

3 04 2011

owni.fr just published a nice profile on Prometheus Fusion.



I’ve been seeing renewed interest in the project post Fukushima.


7 10 2010

EnergyNOW is a new television network focusing on the present and future of energy. We got a feature on their debut episode:



6 07 2010

Wow. Last wednesday I woke up to a new world when the BBC and Gizmodo articles dropped.

Read all about it:

The definitive piece is by Quinn NortonNo Sleep ‘Til Fusion. This article is amazing – heartfelt and accurate. Quinn was there the night of the definitive fusion run. She even helped run the reactor. It was a night on the cusp. So exciting.

The same day Matthew Danzico from the BBC published Extreme DIY: Building a homemade nuclear reactor in NYC. This article took the story viral… it’s all over now!

CNN did a web writeup: Man builds web pages by day and nuclear fusion reactors by night.

CNN TV: Nuclear fusion the ‘Holy Grail’ of green energy?

CNN live interview.

My friend Olivia Koski was on this story from the start: Amateur Fusioneer Dreams of Clean Energy.


Gawker wins best of snark: The Gucci Employee Who Built a Nuclear Reactor in Brooklyn. “Artisanal nuclear fusion”. Pretty funny comments too.

Best comical artwork goes to racked.com: Gucci Web Developer Building a Nuclear Reactor in Brooklyn.

Most ridiculous headline goes to NYPOST: New Yorker found with nuclear reactor in Brooklyn warehouse. NYPOST also wins worst gross factual error: They state that I am building a fission reactor, which is incorrect… it’s fusion.

Worst comments go to Fox News: Gucci Designer Builds Nuclear Reactor in Brooklyn Warehouse.

We were covered by AOL, Yahoo! News, AP, France 5, Inside Edition, Huffington Post, Reddit, Digg, Hacker News, Slashdot, and a bazillion other outlets. I had reporters camping out at old apartments, calling my relatives, showing up at the lab. We got a visit from the NYFD and NYPD. Absolutely fucking nutz. The world went bonkers for this story.

Just as I planned…. mwahahahahaha!

Now everybody forget all about this so I can get back to work!  ;)


26 06 2010

I’ve made this diagram to show where this project fits in the landscape of nuclear energy research:

UPDATE: I’ve updated this diagram with corrections provided by commenters.

Click for full size.


6 06 2010

All photos.

With the vacuum pump working again, I assembled the fusor and attempted a fusion run last night. It was a day frought with challenges, but in the end the bubble meter saw 4 bubbles in 2 hours and 40 minutes:

This shows beyond a doubt that we have fused the atom. During previous attempts we only produced a single bubble… which suggests fusion, but does not rule out a cosmic ray.

Science Journalist Quinn Norton was at the lab writing a story for Gizmodo. She witnessed and documented the fusion run:

Previously we were having problems with transient voltages spikes or EMFs crashing the data acquisition (DAQ) card. Today was a big test for the new transient voltage suppression system . It FAILED big time. But I learned something in the process.

I began by intentionally creating an unstable plasma to test the transient voltage system.  This crashed the DAQ every time.

Next I disconnected all wires to the DAQ to determine if the interference is coming through the wires or the air:

Without computer control I needed some way to manually adjust  the MFC. I hacked together a quick voltage divider using a 2KΩ potentiometer and a 9V battery:

This proved to work very well.

To control the high voltage from a distance I used the emergency stop button:

This also worked very well. At this point the reactor is completely under manual control. No computer necessary. Which will turn out to be a good thing.

So now we can test the DAQ with no physical connection to the reactor.

Surprisingly, I was able to crash the DAQ every time, even with no wires connected to it!

Quinn noticed the USB hub flickering during the plasma sparks and suggested it may be the failure point. I removed it, and indeed the system seemed less vulnerable to crashing:

At this point the DAQ seems to remain running in the face of sparking plasmas. Good.

Next I tried connecting one channel to the DAQ… a digital output channel to turn the high voltage on and off. I created a duty cycle function in labview to make it easy to bake out the chamber without melting the fusor grid. This is what it looks like running:

Next I bake out the chamber for an hour using a deuterium atmosphere @ 10 mtorr. The high voltage power supply is set to it’s maximum: 30Kv @ 10mA and the duty cycle is set to 75% @ ~ 0.09 hertz.

At first the computer controlled bake out was running smoothly. About 15 minutes in I get a computer crash. Restart. It runs for about 7 minutes and crashes. Try again. 5 minutes and it crashes. The crashes in increase frequency until I am getting nowhere.

At the point I switch the system over to full manual control and begin the metered fusion run. A fresh bubble detector was unboxed and activated.

(so fresh and so clean)

For the main fusion trial the deuterium atmosphere was at 10 mtorr, high voltage set to it’s maximum: 30Kv @ 10mA. The procedure was to run the system at full power until the plamsa became unstable and started sparking. This instability seems to correspond to the grid becoming red hot, so the plasma instability may be due to thermionic emission.

The bubble detector was activated for 2 hours and 40 minutes. The plasma was running for some unknown fraction of that time. 4 bubbles were detected.

Challenges remain for controlling this wily beast with a computer.


20 07 2009

My talk at toorcamp got some press in Canada today: Summer camp – for hackers

Other ToorCamp subjects are more ambitious. A Brooklyn, N.Y., resident who only goes by his pseudonym, famulus, gives an unscheduled talk about his quest to build an open-source Bussard fusion reactor, which he says has the potential to create “cheap, clean, abundant energy.” He has been working on the project for about a year, documenting his efforts on prometheusfusionperfection.com.

FYI, this article incorrectly names me as Samulus. It should be famulus.


ToorCamp subjects are more ambitious. A Brooklyn, N.Y., resident who only goes by his pseudonym, Samulus, gives an unscheduled talk about his quest to build an open-source Bussard fusion reactor, which he says has the potential to create “cheap, clean, abundant energy.” He has been working on the project for about a year, documenting his efforts on prometheusfusionperfection.


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