International Focus Fusion Research
Starting in 2012, other groups began working theoretically on pB11 fusion with a DPF, what we call Focus Fusion. The first, at the Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran published a paper in May, 2012, in the Journal of Fusion Energy by S. Abolhasani, M. Habibi, and R. Amrollahi, “Analytical Study of Quantum Magnetic and Ion Viscous Effects on p11B Fusion in Plasma Focus Devices”. The paper studied in greater detail the “quantum magnetic field effect” LPPF researchers had first reported about in 2003. The Iranian paper for the first time independently confirmed LPPF’s calculations showing that ignition and net energy gain can be achieved with pB11 (hydrogen-boron) fuel, the key to obtaining aneutronic fusion energy. “According to the results of this paper,” they concluded, “It could be said that p11B fuelled plasma focus device is a clean and efficient source of energy.”
In Italy, Andrea Di Vita, a researcher at University of Genoa published in September, 2013 a paper in European Physical Journal analyzing LPPF’s theory of focus fusion. He does not conclude that, with his initial conditions, you can ignite pB11, but he admits his conditions are limited and is generally very favorable about further pursuing this research.
As well, a fourth group in Japan working on simulations, work that was first circulated in 2010 with a publication in Physics of Plasmas. In February, 2013, LPPF and the Toyama University group announced an agreement to work together on pB11 fusion.
In addition to LPPFusion, two other experimental groups in Poland expect to be testing hydrogen-boron fuel in a plasma focus device in 2019. The two groups will take somewhat different approaches to mixing the hydrogen and boron. While LPPF will be using a compound of hydrogen and boron, decaborane, as a fill gas, the PF-1000U group in Warsaw will puff a plume of different gas, boron fluoride, through a hole in the anode just before a pure hydrogen pinch converges on the center. The gas-puff idea, which has been used before in other experiments with deuterium, is intended to allow greater densities in the final stages of compression. However, the turbulence in the puff may lead to asymmetries in the compression, and so to lower final density.
The Krakow group, using PF-24, a device very similar to LPPF’s, will use a laser to vaporize a puff from a block of solid boron in the anode tip, only 1 microsecond before a pure hydrogen pinch converges on the spot. Since the boron block has to sit slightly off-axis to avoid being destroyed by the electron beam from the plasmoid, the problem of potential asymmetry is present in this approach as well. Initial tests indicate that the laser can be tightly correlated with the plasma focus pinch process.
Both Polish groups had hoped to run boron experiments in 2018 (as had LPPF’s team!) but ran into a variety of delays. All three groups will be sharing results and learning from each other’s work.