From the discovery of the fusion process itself, the effort to control fusion energy has been tied to the study of astronomical phenomena on all scales in the universe, from our Earth’s aurora to superclusters of galaxies that contain hundreds of trillions of stars. The fusion process was discovered by Han Bethe and others through their research on the origin of the energy of the Sun and other stars. Later, as researchers learned about plasmas, the electrically conducting state of matter where fusion reactions take place, they could compare what they observed in the laboratory with what could be observed in space. Plasma is the dominant form of matter in the universe, with more than 99.99% of the matter in the universe being plasmas. Hannes Alfven, the founder of modern plasma physics, discovered fundamental processes in plasmas in space and then applied them to technology on earth—and vice versa, for example using technical problems in the transmission of electricity in Sweden to describe solar flares.
The discovery by Alfven and his colleague Carl-Gunner Falthammar of the basic role played by filaments of current in the cosmos in the formation of structure from stars up to galaxies laid the basis for understanding filamentation in the plasma focus device. Similarly, LPPFusion Chief Scientist Eric Lerner’s research in the 1980’s using the formation of plasmoid in the DPF as a model for understanding quasars led to the formulation of a quantitative theory of the functioning of the DPF. This theory in turn predicted that the plasma focus could be used for pB11 fusion.