Preliminary Evidence of High-Energy IonsJanuary 11, 2010
We have obtained the first preliminary evidence that Focus Fusion- 1, like the Texas A&M machine and PF-1000 in Warsaw, is producing high-energy ions. This evidence indicates that, even operating well below its intended current, FF-1 has produced ions with an average energy of at least 45 keV, the equivalent of half a billion degrees C.
The evidence was obtained on a single shot on January 8. This shot was with 10 torr of deuterium in the vacuum chamber, by far the highest pressure for which we have good data with the FTF detector. LPP’s theory predicts that higher gas densities will lead to higher temperatures within the plasmoid. In this shot the bank produced 0.56 MA at 30 kV, well below its ultimate potential.
We deduced this energy from the timing of the X-ray and neutron pulses observed by the FTF. The first very sharp peak was the X-ray pulse, caused by radiation from hot electrons in the plasmoid and arriving at the FTF at the speed of light, 30 cm per ns. The second group of peaks was the neutrons, traveling much slower and arriving later. We know that the neutrons are produced by DD fusion reactions and should have a velocity of 2.2 cm per ns and should arrive 719 ns after the X-rays. We also know that the fusion reactions only occur once the electrons have heated up the ions.
But in this shot (1/08/10-05), the first burst of neutrons arrived only 682 ns after the beginning of the X-ray pulse. These neutrons, traveling faster than would be expected from the fusion energy alone, must have additional energy imparted to them by the motion of the nuclei that collided to produce the reaction. From this data we can deduce that the average ion in the plasmoid had at least 45 keV of energy. If the neutrons actually originated later in the pulse, then they traveled faster and the average ion energy could have been higher.